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

Date:

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5102

The term 'reasonable efforts' means the exercise of due diligence by the Department for Children and Families to use appropriate and available services to prevent unnecessary removal of the child from his or her home or to finalize a permanency plan.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 5102; 5321

Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent unnecessary removal of the child from the home. In cases involving a child who has been removed from the home, reasonable efforts must be made to finalize the permanency plan for the child. Reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan and may consist of the following:

  • When the permanency plan for the child is reunification, efforts to reunify the child and family following the child's removal from the home
  • When the permanency plan for the child does not include reunification, efforts to arrange and finalize an alternate permanent living arrangement for the child

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5102

When making the reasonable efforts determination, the court may find that no services were appropriate or reasonable considering the circumstances. If the court makes written findings that aggravated circumstances are present, the court may make but is not required to make written findings as to whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent removal of the child from the home. Aggravated circumstances include the following:

  • The parent has subjected a child to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse.
  • The parent has been convicted of murder or manslaughter of a child.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony crime that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent.
  • The parental rights of the parent with respect to a sibling have been terminated.