Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children - Louisiana

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603(25)

The term 'reasonable efforts' means the exercise of ordinary diligence and care by department caseworkers and supervisors and shall assume the availability of a reasonable program of services to children and their families.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 626; 684

The court shall determine whether the Department of Children and Family Services has made reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from his or her home and, after removal, to make it possible for the child to return home safely.

The court may authorize, with the consent of the State, continued implementation of a safety plan prior to the adjudication if there are reasonable grounds to believe the child is in need of care and that the continued implementation of the safety plan is necessary for his or her safety and protection. The safety plan shall continue to set forth conditions as determined or agreed upon by the State as necessary for the protection of the child's health and safety while remaining in the home.

When the child is to be removed from his or her parents' custody, the court shall determine whether reasonable efforts have been made to prevent removal and what preventive or reunification efforts, or both, were made, and why further efforts could or could not have prevented or shortened the separation of the family.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 672.1

At any time in a child in need of care proceeding for a child who is in the custody of the department, the department may file a motion for a judicial determination that efforts to reunify the parent and child are not required. The department shall have the burden of demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that reunification efforts are not required, considering the health and safety of the child and the child's need for permanency.

Efforts to reunify the parent and child are not required if a court has determined the following:

  • The parent has subjected the child to egregious conduct or conditions, including any of the grounds for termination of parental rights pursuant to Article 1015.
  • The parent has committed or attempted to commit murder or manslaughter of another child of the parent or any other child or has aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or manslaughter.
  • The parent has committed a felony that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child, another child of the parent, or any other child.
  • The parent's parental rights to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.