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
Failure to Establish Paternity
Ga. Code Ann. § 15-11-58(m) (WESTLAW through End of 2003 Reg. Sess.)
In the event that a child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the Division of Family and Children Services for 15 of the most recent 22 months, or if the court has determined a child to be an abandoned infant, as set forth in § 15-11-94, or has made a determination that the parent has committed murder of another child of the parent; committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent; aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent; committed felony assault that has resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent, the department shall file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents, or, if such a petition has been filed by another party, seek to be joined as a party to the petition.
Ga. Code Ann. § 15-11-94 (WESTLAW through 2000 Gen. Assem.)
In considering the termination of parental rights, the court shall first determine whether there is present clear and convincing evidence of parental misconduct or inability. If there is clear and convincing evidence of such parental misconduct or inability, the court shall then consider whether termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child, after considering the physical, mental, emotional, and moral condition and needs of the child who is the subject of the proceeding, including the need for a secure and stable home.
The court, by order, may terminate the parental rights of a parent with respect to the parent's child if:
The written consent of the parent, acknowledged before the court, has been given; acknowledgment before the court is not necessary where the parent or parents voluntarily surrender the child for adoption.
A decree has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other State ordering the parent, guardian, or other custodian to support the child, and the parent, guardian, or other custodian has wantonly and willfully failed to comply with the order for a period of 12 months or longer.
The parent has abandoned the child or the child was left under circumstances that the identity of the parent is unknown and cannot be ascertained despite diligent searching, and the parent has not come forward to claim the child within three months following the finding of the child.
The court determines parental misconduct or inability by finding that:
The child is a deprived child, as such term is defined by § 15-11-2;
The lack of proper parental care or control by the parent in question is the cause of the child's status as deprived. In determining whether the child is without proper parental care and control, the court shall consider, without being limited to, the following:
A medically verifiable deficiency of the parent's physical, mental, or emotional health of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to provide adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of the child;
Excessive use of or history of chronic un-rehabilitated abuse of intoxicating liquors or narcotic or dangerous drugs or controlled substances with the effect of rendering the parent incapable of providing adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of the child;
Conviction of the parent of a felony and imprisonment therefore which has a demonstrable negative effect on the quality of the parent-child relationship;
Egregious conduct or evidence of past egregious conduct of the parent toward the child or toward another child of a physically, emotionally, or sexually cruel or abusive nature;
Physical, mental, or emotional neglect of the child or evidence of past physical, mental, or emotional neglect of the child or of another child by the parent;
Injury or death of a sibling under circumstances which constitute substantial evidence that such injury or death resulted from parental neglect or abuse.
In addition to these considerations: Where the child is not in the custody of the parent who is the subject of the proceedings, in determining whether the child is without proper parental care and control, the court shall consider, without being limited to, whether the parent without justifiable cause has failed significantly for a period of 1 year or longer prior to the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights:
To develop and maintain a parental bond with the child in a meaningful, supportive manner;
To provide for the care and support of the child as required by law or judicial decree; and
To comply with a court ordered plan designed to reunite the child with the parent or parents.