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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-15.1(c)

The term 'reasonable efforts' means attempts by an agency to assist parents in remedying the circumstances and conditions that led to placement of the child and to reinforce family structure, including the following:

  • Consultation with the parent in developing a plan for appropriate services
  • Providing the services agreed upon
  • Informing the parent of the child's progress, development, and health
  • Facilitating appropriate visitation

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-11.1

Reasonable efforts must be made to do the following:

  • Prior to placement, to preserve the family in order to prevent the need for removing the child from the home
  • After placement, to make it possible for the child to return home safely
  • In any case where reunification is not the permanency plan, to place the child in a timely manner and finalize the permanent placement of the child

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-11.2; 30:4C-11.3

Reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the family are not required when any of the following applies:

  • The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances of abuse, neglect, cruelty, or abandonment.
  • The parent has been convicted of murder or manslaughter of a child; aiding, abetting, or attempting to commit such a crime; or committing or attempting to commit an assault resulting in serious bodily injury to a child.
  • The parent's parental rights to another child have been terminated involuntarily.

Reasonable efforts to prevent placement are not required when either of the following is true:

  • Removal of the child was necessary due to imminent danger to the child's life, safety, or health.
  • Efforts to prevent placement were not reasonable due to risk of harm to the child's health or safety.