Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Kentucky
Statute: §§ 600.020(2); 610.127; 625.090
Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination
Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest
Mental Illness or Deficiency
Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity
Failure of Reasonable Efforts
Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child
Failure to Maintain Contact
Failure to Provide Support
Child's Best Interest
Child in care 15 of 22 months (or less)
Felony assault of child or sibling
Murder/Manslaughter of sibling childCircumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination
Failure to Establish Paternity
Child Judged in Need of Services/DependentKy. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 625.090 (West, WESTLAW through End of 2002 Reg. Sess.)
The circuit court may involuntarily terminate all parental rights of a parent
of a named child if the circuit court finds from the pleadings and by clear and convincing evidence that:
The child has been adjudged to be an abused and neglected child by a court of competent jurisdiction or by the circuit court in this proceeding;
The parent has been convicted of a criminal charge relating to the physical or sexual abuse
or neglect or any child and that physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or emotional injury to the child named in the present termination action is likely to occur if the parental rights are not terminated; and
Termination would be in the best interest of the child.
No termination of parental rights
shall be ordered unless the circuit court also finds by clear and convincing evidence the existence of one or more of the following grounds:
That the parent has abandoned the child for a period of not less than 90 days;
That the parent has inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, serious physical injury;
That the parent has continuously or repeatedly inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, physical injury or emotional harm;
That the parent has been convicted of a felony that involved the infliction of serious physical injury to any child;
That the parent, for a period of not less than 6 months, has continuously or repeatedly failed or refused to provide or has been substantially incapable of providing essential parental care and protection for the child and that there is no reasonable expectation of improvement in parental care and protection, considering the age of the child;
That the parent has caused or allowed the child to be sexually abused or exploited;
That the parent, for reasons other than poverty alone, has continuously or repeatedly failed to provide or is incapable of providing essential food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or education
reasonably necessary and available for the child's well-being and that there is no reasonable expectation of significant improvement in the parent's conduct in the immediately foreseeable future, considering the age of the child;
That: the parent's parental rights to another child have been involuntarily terminated; the child named in the present termination action was born subsequent to or during the pendency of the previous termination; and the conditions or factors which were the basis for the previous termination finding have not been corrected;
That the parent has been convicted in a criminal proceeding of having caused or contributed to the death of another child as a result of physical or sexual abuse or neglect; or
That the child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the Cabinet for Families and Children for 15 of the most recent 22 months preceding the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights.
In determining the best interest of the child and the existence of a ground for termination, the circuit court shall consider the following factors:
Mental illness or mental retardation
of the parent, as certified by a qualified mental health professional, which renders the parent consistently unable to care for the immediate and ongoing physical or psychological needs of the child for extended periods of time;
Acts of abuse or neglect toward any child in the family;
If the child has been placed with the Cabinet for Families and Children, whether the cabinet has, prior to the filing of the petition, made reasonable efforts to reunite the child with the parents, unless one or more of the circumstances for not requiring reasonable efforts have been substantiated in a written finding by the District Court;
The efforts and adjustments the parent has made in his circumstances, conduct, or conditions to make it in the child's best interest to return him to his home within a reasonable period of time, considering the age of the child;
The physical, emotional, and mental health of the child and the prospects for the improvements of the child's welfare if termination is ordered; and
The payment or failure to pay a reasonable portion of substitute physical care and maintenance if financially able to do so.
If the child has been placed with the cabinet, the parent may present testimony concerning rehabilitation services offered by the cabinet and whether additional services would be likely to bring about lasting parental adjustment enabling a return of the child to the parent.
If the parent proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the child will not continue to be an abused or neglected child if returned to the parent, the court in its discretion may determine not to terminate parental rights.
Upon the conclusion of proof and argument or counsel, the circuit court shall enter findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a decision as to each parent-respondent within 30 days either:
Terminating the rights of the parent; or
Dismissing the petition and stating whether the child shall be returned to the parent or shall remain in the custody of the State.