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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2550

The term 'reasonable efforts' means the exercise of due diligence and care by the Department of Human Services to utilize all available services related to meeting the needs of the child and the family and to assist the parents in remedying the circumstances and conditions that led to the placement of the child and in reinforcing the family structure, including the following:

  • Consultation and cooperation with the parent in developing a plan for appropriate services
  • Providing services to the family that have been agreed upon in order to further the goal of family reunification
  • Informing the parent at appropriate intervals of the child's progress, development, and health
  • Facilitating appropriate visitation

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2550

Reasonable efforts are not required if the court finds that any of the following grounds for termination of parental rights exists:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has not complied with the department's reasonable efforts to achieve reunification.
  • The child has been removed from the home for more than 6 months, and:
    • The conditions that led to the child's removal still persist.
    • There is little likelihood that the conditions that led to the child's removal will be remedied within the next 18 months.
  • The parent has been convicted of aggravated child abuse or neglect, as defined in tit. 14, § 506, against the child, a sibling, half-sibling, or any other child residing temporarily or permanently in the home of the parent.
  • The parent has been convicted of the intentional death of the child's other parent.
  • The parent is unable to discharge parental duties due to:
    • Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency
    • Habitual abuse or addiction to intoxicating liquors, narcotics, or other dangerous drugs
  • The parent has failed to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody of the child.
  • Placing the child in the parent's custody would pose a risk of substantial harm to the physical or psychological welfare of the child.
  • The parent has relinquished the parent's rights or consented to the child's adoption.
  • The parent has:
    • Committed murder or manslaughter of any sibling or half-sibling of the child
    • Aided, abetted, attempted, or conspired to commit such murder or a voluntary manslaughter
    • Committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or any sibling or half-sibling
  • The parent has on two or more occasions abused or neglected any child.
  • Within 18 months after a child's return from an out-of-home placement, the child is removed from the parent's custody and placed in care outside the home a second time.