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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-423

Reasonable efforts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Voluntary protective services agreements
  • Development of individual written case plans specifying State efforts to reunify families
  • Placement in the least disruptive setting possible
  • Provision of services pursuant to a case plan
  • Periodic review to ensure timely progress

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-423

The Department of Public Health and Human Services shall make reasonable efforts to do the following:

  • To prevent the necessity of removal of a child from a child's home
  • To reunify families that have been separated

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 41-3-423

Reasonable efforts are not required if a court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a parent has done any of the following:

  • Subjected a child to aggravated circumstances, including abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, sexual abuse, or chronic and severe neglect
  • Committed, aided, abetted, or attempted to commit homicide of a child
  • Committed aggravated assault against a child
  • Committed neglect of a child that resulted in serious bodily injury or death
  • Had parental rights to a sibling terminated involuntarily, and circumstances of the termination are relevant to the parent's ability to adequately care for the child at issue

Preservation or reunification services are not required for a putative father if the court finds that the putative father has failed to do any of the following:

  • Contribute to the support of the child for an aggregate period of 1 year, although able to do so
  • Establish a substantial relationship with the child, as demonstrated by:
    • Visiting the child at least monthly when physically and financially able to do so
    • Having regular contact with the child
    • Manifesting an ability and willingness to assume legal and physical custody of the child if the child was not in the physical custody of the other parent
  • Register with the putative father registry, been adjudicated to be the father of the child for the purposes of child support, or been recorded on the child's birth certificate as the child's father