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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 447s

The Department of the Family shall make use of resources for the support of individuals, families, and the community, as well as internal and external resources of the department and other public and nongovernmental agencies, to improve the living conditions of families that may endanger the life and safety of a minor.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 447s

Reasonable efforts shall be made to ensure the well-being and full protection of the minor and to preserve the integrity of the family prior to the removal of a minor from his or her home. After removing a minor from his or her home, reasonable efforts shall be made for a period not to exceed 6 months to reunite the minor with his or her family. Moreover, support services shall continue once the minor is permanently placed.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 8, § 447s

No reasonable efforts shall be undertaken under the following circumstances:

  • The parent suffers from a mental disability of such a magnitude that it prevents the parent from caring properly for the child.
  • The child has been previously removed from the home, and after being returned home, he or she is again made a victim of abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect.
  • The parent has been deprived of patria potestas of another child and has been unable to resolve the problems that led to the loss of patria potestas.
  • The parent has caused severe physical harm, abuse, and/or neglect of the child, which put the child's health and physical, mental, and emotional integrity at grave risk.
  • The parent has committed any of the following:
    • Murder, assault, or mutilation
    • Rape, incest, or lewd or obscene acts
    • Trafficking of individuals for sexual purposes
    • Remittance, transportation, sale, distribution, publication, exhibition, or possession of obscene materials or obscene shows and exposing minors to those crimes
    • Kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping
    • Abandonment of minors
    • Abduction or perversion of minors
    • Inciting a minor to commit a crime
  • The parent covers up or conspires to commit one or more of the crimes above.
  • Efforts to change the behavior of the parent have not succeeded 6 months after the service plan was initiated.
  • The parent has stated that he or she has no interest in being reunited with the minor.
  • A health-care professional certifies that the parent suffers from a chronic controlled substance abuse problem that prevents the return of the minor to the custody of the parent within a period of 6 months of initiating the procedures.