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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code § 37-1-166

The term 'reasonable efforts' means the exercise of reasonable care and diligence by the Department of Children's Services to provide services related to meeting the needs of the child and the family.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 37-1-166

Reasonable efforts must be made to do the following:

  • To prevent the need for removal of the child from the child's family
  • To make it possible for the child to return home
  • To place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child if continuation of reasonable efforts is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan for the child

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-102(9); 37-1-166

Reasonable efforts shall not be required if a court has determined that any of the following apply:

  • The parent has subjected the child or any child in the household to aggravated circumstances, including any of the following:
    • Abandonment or a child or an infant
    • Aggravated assault
    • Aggravated kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping
    • Aggravated child abuse and neglect
    • Aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor or especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor
    • Aggravated rape, rape, rape of a child, or incest
    • Severe child abuse, as defined in § 37-1-102
  • The parent has committed murder or manslaughter of any sibling or other child residing in the household, or aided, abetted, or attempted such crime.
  • The parent has committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to any child residing in the household.
  • The parental rights of the parent to another child have been terminated involuntarily.