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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Colorado

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Statute: 19-3-604

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination
Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest


Abuse/Neglect

Mental Illness or Deficiency

Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity

Felony Conviction/Incarceration

Failure of Reasonable Efforts

Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child

Sexual Abuse

Failure to Maintain Contact

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

Failure to Provide Support

Failure to Establish Paternity

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. 19-3-604 (West, WESTLAW through Colo. 2003 Legis. Serv., Ch. 73)

The court may order a termination of the parent-child legal relationship upon the finding by clear and convincing evidence of any one of the following:

That the child has been adjudicated dependent or neglected and has been abandoned by the child's parent(s) as follows: That the parent(s) have surrendered physical custody of the child for a period of 6 months or more and have not manifested during such period the firm intention to resume physical custody of the child or to make permanent legal arrangements for the care of the child except in cases when voluntary placement is renewable; or the identity of the parent of the child is unknown and has been unknown for 3 months or more and that reasonable efforts to identify and locate the parent have failed;

That the child is adjudicated dependent or neglected and the court finds that no appropriate treatment plan can be devised to address the unfitness of the parent(s).
In making such a determination, the court shall find one of the following as the basis for unfitness:

Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent of such duration or nature as to render the parent unlikely within a reasonable time to care for the ongoing physical, mental, and emotional needs and conditions of the child;

A single incident resulting in serious bodily injury or disfigurement of the child;
Long-term confinement of the parent of such duration that the parent is not eligible for parole for at least 6 years after the date the child was adjudicated dependent or neglected or, in a designated county, if the child is under 6 years of age at the time a petition is filed, the long-term confinement of the parent of such duration that the parent is not eligible for parole for at least 36 months after the date the child was adjudicated dependent or neglected and the court has found by clear and convincing evidence that no appropriate treatment plan can be devised to address the unfitness of the parent or parents;

Serious bodily injury or death of a sibling due to proven parental abuse or neglect;

An identifiable pattern of habitual abuse to which the child or another child has been subjected and, as a result of which, a court has adjudicated another child as neglected or dependent based upon allegations of sexual or physical abuse, or a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that such abuse has caused the death of another child;

An identifiable pattern of sexual abuse of the child;

The torture or extreme cruelty to the child, a sibling of the child, or another child of either parent;

That the child is adjudicated dependent or neglected and all of the following exist:

That an appropriate treatment plan approved by the court has not been reasonably complied with or has not been successful or that the court has previously found that an appropriate treatment plan could not be devised. In a designated county, if a child is under 6 years of age at the time a petition is filed, no parent shall be found to be in reasonable compliance with or to have been successful at a court-approved treatment plan when: the parent has not attended visitations with the child as set forth in the treatment plan, unless good cause can be shown for failing to visit; or the parent exhibits the same problems addressed in the treatment plan without adequate improvement, including, but not limited to, improvement in the relationship with the child, and is unable or unwilling to provide nurturing and safe parenting sufficiently adequate to meet the child's physical, emotional, and mental health needs;

That the parent is unfit; and

That the conduct or condition of the parent or parents is unlikely to change within a reasonable time.

In determining unfitness, conduct, or condition, the court shall find that continuation of the legal relationship between parent and child is likely to result in grave risk of death or serious bodily injury to the child or that the conduct or condition of the parent or parents renders the parent or parents unable or unwilling to give the child reasonable parental care to include, at a minimum, nurturing and safe parenting sufficiently adequate to meet the child's physical, emotional, and mental health needs and conditions. In making such determinations, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:

Any one of the bases for a finding of parental unfitness set forth above.

Conduct towards the child of a physically or sexually abusive nature;

History of violent behavior;
A single incident of life-threatening or serious
bodily injury or disfigurement of the child;

Excessive use of intoxicating liquors or
controlled substances, which affects the ability
to care and provide for the child;

Neglect of the child;

Injury or death of a sibling due to proven
parental abuse or neglect, murder, voluntary
manslaughter, or circumstances in which a parent
aided, abetted, or attempted the commission of
or conspired or solicited to commit murder of a
child's sibling;

Reasonable efforts by child-caring agencies
which have been unable to rehabilitate the
parent or parents;

That any parent who is a named respondent in the
termination proceeding has had prior involvement
with the Department of Human Services concerning
an incident of abuse or neglect involving the
child and a subsequent incident of abuse or
neglect occurs;

Whether a parent committed felony assault that
resulted in serious bodily injury to the child
or to another child of the parent;

That the child has been in foster care under the
responsibility of the county department for 15
of the most recent 22 months, unless: the child
is placed with a relative of the child.; the
county department or a State agency has
documented in the case plan, which shall be
available for court review, that filing such a
motion would not be in the best interests of the
child; or where required to make reasonable
efforts, services identified as necessary for
the safe return of the child to the child's home
have not been provided to the family consistent
with the time period in the case plan;

The child has been in foster care under the
responsibility of the county department for such
period of time due to circumstances beyond the
control of the parent such as incarceration of
the parent for a reasonable period of time,
court delays or continuances that are not
attributable to the parent, or such other
reasonable circumstances that the court finds
are beyond the control of the parent;

Whether, on two or more occasions, a child in
the physical custody of the parent has been
adjudicated dependent or neglected in a
proceeding under this article of comparable
proceedings under the laws of another State or
the Federal government;

Whether, on one or more prior occasions, a
parent has had his or her parent-child legal
relationship terminated pursuant to law or
comparable proceedings under the laws of another
State or of the Federal government.

In considering the termination of the parent-
child legal relationship, the court shall give
primary consideration to the physical, mental,
and emotional conditions and needs of the child.
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