Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children - Maine
What Are Reasonable Efforts
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4041(1-A)
The Department of Health and Human Services shall develop a written rehabilitation plan that includes:
- Services that must be provided to address the problems in the family that present a risk of harm to the child
- Provisions to ensure the safety of the child while the parent engages in those services
- A means to measure the extent to which progress has been made
- Visitation that protects the child's physical and emotional well-being
When Reasonable Efforts Are Required
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4036-B
The department shall make reasonable efforts to do the following:
- Prevent removal of the child from home, unless the court finds the presence of an aggravating factor
- Rehabilitate and reunify the family, as provided in § 4041(1-A), unless the court has ordered that the department need not commence or may cease reunification
- Finalize the permanency plan
When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, §§ 4041(2)(A-2); 4002(1-B)
The court may order that reunification efforts are not required if it finds one of the following:
- The existence of an aggravating factor
- That continuation of reunification efforts is inconsistent with the permanency plan for the child
An aggravating factor includes any of the following circumstances with regard to the parent:
- The parent has subjected a child for whom the parent was responsible to rape, gross sexual misconduct, gross sexual assault, sexual abuse, incest, aggravated assault, kidnapping, promotion of prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor, sex trafficking or aggravated sex trafficking, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or any other treatment that is heinous or abhorrent to society.
- The parent refused for 6 months to comply with treatment required in a reunification plan with regard to the child.
- The parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes and the victim of the crime was a child for whom the parent was responsible or was a child who was a member of a household lived in or frequented by the parent:
- Murder, felony murder, or manslaughter
- Aiding, conspiring, or soliciting murder or manslaughter
- Felony assault that results in serious bodily injury
- Any comparable crime in another jurisdiction
- The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.
- The parent has abandoned the child.