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

Date:

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-101

The term 'reasonable efforts' means the diligent use of abuse prevention or reunification services by the Department of Social Services when a juvenile remaining at home or returning home is consistent with achieving a safe, permanent home for the juvenile within a reasonable period of time. If a court of competent jurisdiction determines that the juvenile is not to be returned home, then reasonable efforts are the diligent and timely use of permanency planning services by a department of social services to develop and implement a permanent plan for the juvenile.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-101

Reasonable efforts must be made to do the following:

  • To prevent or eliminate the need for placement of the juvenile out of the home
  • To develop and implement a permanent plan for the child when a court determines that the juvenile is not to be returned home

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 7B-901

Unless the court concludes that there is compelling evidence warranting continued reunification efforts, the court shall direct that reasonable efforts for reunification shall not be required if the court makes written findings of fact pertaining to any of the following:

  • A court determines or has determined that aggravated circumstances exist because the parent has committed, encouraged the commission of, or allowed the continuation of any of the following upon the juvenile:
    • Sexual abuse
    • Chronic physical or emotional abuse
    • Torture
    • Abandonment
    • Chronic or toxic exposure to alcohol or controlled substances that causes impairment of or addiction in the juvenile
    • Any other act, practice, or conduct that increased the enormity or added to the injurious consequences of the abuse or neglect
  • A court terminates or has terminated involuntarily the parental rights of the parent to another child of the parent.
  • A court determines or has determined that the parent has done any of the following:
    • Committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • Aided, abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child or another child of the parent
    • Committed a felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent
    • Committed sexual abuse against the child or another child of the parent
    • Been required to register as a sex offender on any government-administered registry