Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights New Jersey
Statute: §§ 30:4C-15; 30:4C-15.1(a),(b); 9:2-19
Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination
Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest
Mental Illness or Deficiency
Failure of Reasonable Efforts
Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child
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 childCircumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination
Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity
Failure to Provide Support
Failure to Establish PaternityN.J. Stat. Ann. § 30:4C-15 (West, WESTLAW through 1999 ch. 53)
Whenever it appears that a court, wherein a complaint has been proffered as provided in chapter 6 of Title 9 of the Revised Statutes, has entered a conviction against the parent
or parents, guardian, or person having custody and control of any child:
Because of abuse, abandonment, neglect of or cruelty to such child; or
It appears that the best interests of any child under the care or custody of the Division of Youth and Family Services require that he be placed under guardianship; or
It appears that a parent or guardian of a child, following the acceptance of such child by the Division pursuant to law, or following the placement
or commitment of such child in the care of an authorized agency, whether in an institution or in a foster
home, and notwithstanding the reasonable efforts of such agency to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship, has failed for a period of one year to remove the circumstances or conditions that led to the removal or placement of the child, although physically and financially able to do so, notwithstanding the Division's reasonable efforts to assist the parent or guardian in remedying the conditions; or
The parent has abandoned the child; or
The parent of a child has been found by a criminal court of competent jurisdiction to have committed murder, aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter of another child of the parent; to have aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such murder, aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter of the child or another child of the parent; or to have committed, or attempted to commit, an assault that resulted, or could have resulted, in the significant bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent; or
The parent has committed a similarly serious act which resulted, or could have resulted, in the death or significant bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent.
A petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents, setting forth the facts in the case, shall be filed by the Division with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in the county where such child may be at the time of the filing of such petition.
A petition shall be filed as soon as any one of the circumstances listed above is established, but no later than when the child has been in placement for 15 of the most recent 22 months, unless the Division establishes an exception to the requirement to seek termination of parental rights in accordance with statute. Upon filing the petition, the Division shall initiate concurrent efforts to identify, recruit, process and approve a qualified family to adopt
the child. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 30:4C-15.1(a), (b) (West, WESTLAW through 2000 ch. 179)
The Division shall initiate a petition to terminate parental rights on the grounds of the 'best interests of the child' if the following standards are met:
The child's safety, health
or development has been or will continue to be endangered by the parental relationship;
The parent is unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm facing the child or is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home for the child and the delay of permanent placement will add to the harm. Such harm may include evidence that separating the child from his foster parents would cause serious and enduring emotional or psychological harm to the child;
The Division has made reasonable efforts to provide services to help the parent correct the circumstances which led to the child's placement outside the home and the court has considered alternatives to termination of parental rights; and
Termination of parental rights will not do more harm than good.
The Division shall initiate a petition to terminate parental rights on the ground that the 'parent has abandoned the child' if the following standards are met:
A court finds that for a period of 6 or more months:the parent, although able to have contact, has had no contact with the child, the child's foster parent or the Division; and the parent's whereabouts are unknown, notwithstanding the Division's reasonable efforts to locate the parent; or
Where the identities of the parents are unknown and the Division has exhausted all reasonable methods of attempting identification, the Division may immediately file for termination of parental rights upon the completion of the law enforcement investigation; or
Where the parent voluntarily delivered the child to and left the child at, or voluntarily arranged for another person to deliver the child to and leave the child at a State, county, or municipal police station or at an emergency department of a licensed general hospital in the State when the child is or appears to be no more than 30 days old, without expressing an intent to return for the child.N.J. Stat. Ann. § 9:2-19 (West 1999)
If the court shall determine that custody of the child has been surrendered, the court may declare that the person making such surrender shall have no further right to custody of the child. If the court shall determine that a parent of the child is dead, or mentally incompetent, or has forsaken parental obligation, the court may declare that such parent shall have no further right to custody of the child.
If the court shall determine that a custodian or guardian has been appointed for the child, but that such custodian or guardian has willfully and continuously neglected or failed to discharge the responsibilities of such appointment, the court may declare that such custodian or guardian shall have no further control and authority over the person of the child.