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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Arkansas

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Statute: 9-27-341(a)-(c)

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination


Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest

Abuse/Neglect

Mental Illness or Deficiency

Felony Conviction/Incarceration

Failure of Reasonable Efforts

Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child

Sexual Abuse

Failure to Maintain Contact

Failure to Provide Support

Child Judged in Need of Services/Dependent

Child's Best Interest

Child in care 15 of 22 months (or less)

Felony assault of child or sibling

Murder/Manslaughter of sibling child

Circumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination

Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity

Failure to Establish Paternity

Full Text of Statute

Ark. Code Ann. 9-27-341(a)-(c) (West, WESTLAW through Ark. 2003 Legis. Serv., Acts 1166 & 1319)


This section shall be a remedy available only to the Department of Human Services or a court-appointed attorney ad litem. It shall not be available for private litigants or other agencies. It shall be used only in such cases when the Department of Human Services is attempting to clear a juvenile for permanent placement. The intent of this section is to provide permanency in a juvenile's life in all instances where return of a juvenile to the family home is contrary to the juvenile's health, safety, or welfare, and it appears from the evidence that return to the family home cannot be accomplished in a reasonable period of time, as viewed from the juvenile's perspective.

The court may consider a petition to terminate parental rights if the court finds that there is an appropriate permanency placement plan for the juvenile.

This section does not require that a permanency planning hearing be held as a prerequisite to the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights, or as a prerequisite to the court considering a petition to terminate parental rights.

The petitioner shall provide the parent, parents, or putative parent actual or constructive notice of a petition to terminate parental rights. An order forever terminating parental rights shall be based upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence:

That it is in the best interest of the juvenile, including consideration of the likelihood that the juvenile will be adopted if the termination petition is granted; and the potential harm, specifically addressing the effect on the health and safety of the child, caused by continuing contact with the parent, parents, or putative parent;

Of one or more of the following grounds: that a juvenile has been adjudicated by the court to be dependent-neglected and has continued out of the custody of the parent for 12 months, and, despite a meaningful effort by the Department of Human Services to rehabilitate the parents and correct the conditions which caused removal, those conditions have not been remedied by the parent. It is not necessary that the 12-month period immediately precede the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights, or that it be for 12 consecutive months; or the juvenile has lived outside the home of the parent for a period of 12 months, and the parent has willfully failed to provide significant material support in accordance with the parent's means or to maintain meaningful contact with the juvenile. To find willful failure to maintain meaningful contact, it must be shown that the parent was not prevented from visiting or having contact with the juvenile by the juvenile's custodian or any other person, taking into consideration the distance of the juvenile's placement from the parent's home. It is not necessary that the 12-month period immediately precede the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights, or that it be for 12 consecutive months;
The presumptive legal father is not the biological father of the juvenile, and the welfare of the juvenile can best be served by terminating the parental rights of such presumptive legal father;

A parent has abandoned the juvenile;

A parent has executed consent to termination of parental rights or adoption of the juvenile, subject to the court's approval;

The juvenile court has found the juvenile victim dependent-neglected as a result of neglect or abuse that could endanger the life of the child, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation, and which was perpetrated by the juvenile's parent or parents. Such findings by the juvenile court shall constitute grounds for immediate termination of the parental rights of one or both of the parents.

Such findings by the juvenile court shall constitute grounds for immediate termination of the parental rights of one or both of the parents:

That, subsequent to the filing of the original petition for dependency-neglect, other factors or issues arose which demonstrate that return of the juvenile to the custody of the parents is contrary to the juvenile's health, safety, or welfare, and that, despite the offer of appropriate family services, the parent has manifested the incapacity or indifference to remedy the subsequent issues or factors, or rehabilitate the parent's circumstances, which prevent return of the juvenile to the custody of the parents, provided, however, that the Department of Human Services shall make reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to parents with disabilities in order to allow them meaningful access to reunification and family preservation services. For purposes of this subsection, said inability or incapacity to remedy or rehabilitate includes, but is not limited to, mental illness, emotional illness, or mental deficiencies;

The parent is sentenced in a criminal proceeding for a period of time which would constitute a substantial period of the juvenile's life and the conditions of out-of-home placement for 12 months or more, due to being adjudicated dependent-neglected, with lack of support and/or contact from the parent have also been established:

The parent is found by a court of competent jurisdiction, including the juvenile division of circuit court, to: have committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of any child, or to have aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such murder or voluntary manslaughter; have committed a felony battery or assault that results in serious bodily injury to any child; have subjected the child to aggravated circumstances; have had his parental rights involuntarily terminated as to a sibling of the child; or have abandoned an infant.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require reunification of a surviving child with a parent who has been found guilty of any of the offenses listed in this subdivision.

An order terminating the relationship between parent and juvenile divests the parent and the juvenile of all legal rights, powers, and obligations with respect to each other, including the right to withhold consent to adoption, except the right of the juvenile to inherit from the parent, which is terminated only by a final order of adoption.

Termination of the relationship between a juvenile and one parent shall not affect the relationship between the juvenile and the other parent, if those rights are legally established. If no legal rights have been established, a putative parent must prove that significant contacts existed with the juvenile in order for the putative parent's rights to attach.

When the petitioner has actual knowledge that an individual is claiming to be or is named as the putative parent of the juvenile and the paternity of the juvenile has not been judicially determined, the individual is entitled to notice of the petition to terminate parental rights. The notice shall identify the rights sought to be terminated and those which may be terminated. The notice shall further specify that the putative parent must prove that significant contacts existed with the juvenile for the putative parent's rights to attach.

An order terminating parental rights under this section does not preclude adoptive parents from allowing contact between an adopted child and the birth sibling or other birth family members.
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