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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Missouri

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Statute: § 211.447(2)-(7)

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

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 child

Circumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination

Failure to Establish Paternity

Child Judged in Need of Services/Dependent

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 211.447(2)-(7) (West Supp. 1998)

Except as provided below, a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parent or parents shall be filed by the juvenile officer or the Division, or if such a petition has been filed by another party, the juvenile officer or the Division shall seek to be joined as a party to the petition, when:

The child has been in foster care for at least 15 of the most recent 22 months; or

A court of competent jurisdiction has determined the child to be an abandoned infant. For purposes of this subdivision, an 'infant' means any child 1 year of age or under at the time of filing of the petition. The court may find that an infant has been abandoned if the parent has left the child under circumstances that the identity of the child was unknown, and the parent has not come forward to claim the child; or the parent has, without good cause, left the child without any provision for parental support and without making arrangements to visit or communicate with the child, although able to do so; or

A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent has committed murder of another child of the parent; or committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent; or aided or abetted, attempted, conspired or solicited to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter; or committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent;

The child has been abused or neglected. In determining whether to terminate parental rights pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall consider and make findings on the following conditions or acts of the parent:

A mental condition which is shown by competent evidence either to be permanent or such that there is no reasonable likelihood that the condition can be reversed and which renders the parent unable to knowingly provide the child the necessary care, custody and control;

Chemical dependency which prevents the parent from consistently providing the necessary care, custody and control of the child and which cannot be treated so as to enable the parent to consistently provide such care, custody and control;

A severe act or recurrent acts of physical, emotional or sexual abuse toward the child or any child in the family by the parent, including an act of incest, or by another under circumstances that indicate that the parent knew or should have known that such acts were being committed toward the child or any child in the family; or
Repeated or continuous failure by the parent, although physically or financially able, to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or education as defined by law, or other care and control necessary for the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and development;

The child has been under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for a period of 1 year, and the court finds that the conditions which led to the assumption of jurisdiction still persist, or conditions of a potentially harmful nature continue to exist, that there is little likelihood that those conditions will be remedied at an early date so that the child can be returned to the parent in the near future, or the continuation of the parent-child relationship greatly diminishes the child's prospects for early integration into a stable and permanent home. In determining whether to terminate parental rights under this subdivision, the court shall consider and make findings on the following:

The extent to which the parent and department have made progress in complying with the terms of a social service plan;

The success or failure of the efforts to aid the parent on a continuing basis in adjusting his circumstances or conduct to provide a proper home for the child;

A mental condition or chemical dependency which is shown by competent evidence either to be permanent or such that there is no reasonable likelihood that the condition can be treated and which renders the parent unable to knowingly provide the child the necessary care, custody and control; or

The parent has been found guilty or pled guilty to a felony sexual offense, or incest, when the child or any child in the family was a victim; or
The child was conceived and born as a result of an act of forcible rape. When the biological father has pled guilty to, or is convicted of, the forcible rape of the birth mother, such a plea or conviction shall be conclusive evidence supporting the termination of the biological father's parental rights; or
The parent is unfit to be a party to the parent and child relationship because of a consistent pattern of committing a specific abuse, including but not limited to, child abuse or drug abuse before the child or of specific conditions directly relating to the parent and child relationship either of which are determined by the court to be of a duration or nature that renders the parent unable, for the reasonably foreseeable future, to care appropriately for the ongoing physical, mental or emotional needs of the child. It is presumed that a parent is unfit upon a showing that within a 3-year period immediately prior to the termination adjudication, the parent's parental rights to one or more other children were involuntarily terminated.

When considering whether to terminate the parent-child relationship, the court shall evaluate and make findings on the following factors, when appropriate and applicable to the case:

The emotional ties to the birth parent;

The extent to which the parent has maintained
regular visitation or other contact with the
child;

The extent of payment by the parent for the cost of care and maintenance of the child when financially able to do so including the time that the child is in the custody of the Division or other child-placing agency;

Whether additional services would be likely to bring about lasting parental adjustment enabling a return of the child to the parent within an ascertainable period of time;

The parent's disinterest in or lack of commitment to the child;

The conviction of the parent of a felony offense that the court finds is of such a nature that the child will be deprived of a stable home for a period of years; provided, however, that incarceration in and of itself shall not be grounds for termination of parental rights;

Deliberate acts of the parent or acts of another of which the parent knew or should have known that subjects the child to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm.

If grounds exist for termination of parental rights, the juvenile officer or the Division may, but is not required to, file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parent or parents if:

The child is being cared for by a relative; or
There exists a compelling reason for determining that filing such a petition would not be in the best interest of the child, as documented in the permanency plan which shall be made available for court review; or

The family of the child has not been provided such services as provided for in the statute pertaining to reasonable efforts to preserve the family.
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