Circumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination
750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 50/1(D) (West, WESTLAW through 2002 Reg. Sess.)
Being an 'unfit person,' defined as any person whom the court shall find to be unfit to have a child. The grounds of unfitness are any one or more of the following, except that a person shall not be considered an unfit person for the sole reason that the person has relinquished a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act:
Abandonment of the child or a newborn infant in a hospital or any setting where the evidence suggests that the parent intended to relinquish his or her parental rights;
Desertion of the child for more than 3 months next preceding the commencement of an adoption proceeding;
Substantial neglect of any child, if continuous or repeated; or that results in the death of that child;
Extreme or repeated cruelty to the child; Two or more findings of physical abuse to any child, the most recent of which was determined by the juvenile court to be supported by clear and convincing evidence; a criminal conviction or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity resulting from the death of any child by physical child abuse; a finding of physical child abuse resulting from the death of any child;
Failure to protect the child from conditions within his environment injurious to the child's welfare;
Other neglect of, or misconduct toward, the child; Depravity. Conviction of any one of the following crimes shall create a presumption that a parent is depraved which can be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence: first or second degree murder of a parent of the child or any child; attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit first or second degree murder of any child; aggravated criminal sexual assault;
Open and notorious adultery or fornication;
Habitual drunkenness or addiction to drugs, for at least 1 year immediately prior to the commencement of an unfitness proceeding. There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent is unfit with respect to any child to which that parent gives birth where there is a confirmed test result that at birth the child's blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of a controlled substance or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which in the newborn infant was not the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant; and the biological mother of this child is the biological mother of at least one other child who was adjudicated a neglected minor;
Failure to demonstrate a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to the welfare of a newborn child during the first 30 days after its birth;
Failure by a parent to make reasonable efforts to correct the conditions that were the basis for the removal of the child from the parent, or to make reasonable progress toward the return of the child within 9 months after an adjudication of neglected or abused minor;
A child has been in foster care for 15 months out of any 22-month period unless the child's parent can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it is more likely than not that it will be in the best interests of the child to be returned to the parent within 6 months of the date on which a petition for termination of parental rights is filed;
Evidence of intent to forgo his or her parental rights, as manifested by his or her failure for a period of 12 months to visit, communicate or maintain contact with the child, although able to do so and not prevented from doing so by an agency or by court order; or as manifested by the father's failure, where he and the mother of the child were unmarried to each other at the time of the child's birth to commence legal proceedings to establish his paternity or to make a good faith effort to pay a reasonable amount of the expenses related to the birth of the child and to provide a reasonable amount for the financial support of the child;
Repeated or continuous failure by the parents, although physically and financially able, to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, or shelter;
Inability to discharge parental responsibilities supported by competent evidence from a psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker, or clinical psychologist of mental impairment, mental illness, mental retardation, or developmental disability, and there is sufficient justification to believe that the inability to discharge parental responsibilities shall extend beyond a reasonable time period;
The parent has been criminally convicted of aggravated battery, heinous battery, or attempted murder of any child;
The child is in the temporary custody or guardianship of the department, the parent is incarcerated as a result of criminal conviction at the time the petition termination of parental rights is filed, prior to incarceration the parent had little or no contact with the child or provided little or no support for the child, and the parent's incarceration will prevent the parent from discharging his or her parental responsibilities for a period in excess of 2 years after the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights;
The child is in the temporary custody or guardianship of the department, the parent is incarcerated at the time the petition for termination of parental rights is filed, the parent has been repeatedly incarcerated as a result of criminal convictions, and the parent's repeated incarceration has prevented the parent from discharging his or her parental responsibilities for the child.
705 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 405/1-2(1) (West, WESTLAW through End of 2000 Reg. Sess.)
Provided that a ground for unfitness can be met, it may be appropriate to expedite termination of parental rights:
When reasonable efforts are inappropriate, or have been provided and were unsuccessful, and there are aggravating circumstances including, but not limited to, those cases in which the child or another child of that child's parent was abandoned; tortured; or chronically abused;
The parent is criminally convicted of first or second degree murder of any child; attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit first or second degree murder of any child; aggravated assault; or aggravated criminal sexual assault;
When the parental rights of a parent with respect to another child of the parent have been involuntarily terminated;
In those extreme cases in which the parent's incapacity to care for the child, combined with an extremely poor prognosis for treatment or rehabilitation, justifies expedited termination of parental rights.
705 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 405/2-13(4.5)(a) (West, WESTLAW through End of 2000 Reg. Sess.)
With respect to any minors committed to its care, the department shall request the State's Attorney to file a petition or motion for termination of parental rights and appointment of guardian of the person with power to consent to adoption of the minor if:
A minor has been in foster care for 15 months of the most recent 22 months;
A minor under the age of 2 years has been previously determined to be abandoned;
The parent is criminally convicted of first or second degree murder of any child; attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit first or second degree murder of any child; aggravated battery, aggravated battery of a child, or felony domestic battery, any of which has resulted in serious injury to the minor or a sibling of the minor; aggravated criminal sexual assault; or an offense in any other State the elements of which are similar and bear a substantial relationship to any of the foregoing offenses.
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