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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Rhode Island

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Statute: 15-7-7(a)-(c); 40-11-12.2(e)

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 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 Maintain Contact

Failure to Establish Paternity

Child Judged in Need of Services/Dependent

Full Text of Statute

R.I. Gen. Laws 15-7-7(a) (WESTLAW through End of 2000 Reg. Sess.)


The court shall, upon a petition duly filed by a governmental child placement agency or licensed child placement agency after notice to the parent
and hearing on the petition, terminate any and
all legal rights of the parent to the child,
including the right to notice of any subsequent
adoption proceedings involving the child, if the
court finds as a fact by clear and convincing
evidence that:

The parent has willfully neglected to provide
proper care and maintenance for the child for a
period of at least one year where financially
able to do so. In determining whether the parent
has willfully neglected to provide proper care
and maintenance for the child, the court may
disregard contributions to support which are of
an infrequent and insubstantial nature.

The parent is unfit by reason of conduct or conditions seriously detrimental to the child; such as, but not limited to, the following:

Institutionalization of the parent, including imprisonment, of such a duration as to render it improbable for the parent to care for the child for an extended period of time;

Conduct toward any child of a cruel or abusive
nature;

The child has been placed in the legal custody or
care of the Department for Children, Youth, and
Families and the parent has a chronic substance
abuse problem and the parent's prognosis
indicates that the child will not be able to
return to the custody of the parent within a
reasonable period of time, considering the
child's age and the need for a permanent home.
The fact that a parent has been unable to provide
care for a child for a period of 12 months due to
substance abuse shall constitute prima facie
evidence of a chronic substance abuse problem;

The child has been placed with the Department for
Children, Youth, and Families and the court has
previously involuntarily terminated parental
rights to another child of the parent and the
parent continues to lack the ability or
willingness to respond to services which would
rehabilitate the parent; and provided, that the
court finds it is improbable that an additional
period of services would result in reunification
within a reasonable period of time considering
the child's age and the need for a permanent home;

The parent has subjected the child to aggravated
circumstances, which circumstances shall be
abandonment, torture, chronic abuse and sexual
abuse;

The parent has committed murder or voluntary
manslaughter on another of his/her children or
has committed a felony assault resulting in
serious bodily injury on that child or another of
his/her children or has aided or abetted,
attempted, conspired or solicited to commit such
a murder or such voluntary manslaughter; or

The parent has exhibited behavior or conduct that
is seriously detrimental to the child, of a
duration that renders it improbable for the
parent to care for the child for an extended
period of time.

The child has been placed in the legal custody or
care of the Department for Children, Youth, and
Families for at least 12 months; and the parents
were offered or received services to correct the
situation which led to the child being placed,
and provided further that there is not a
substantial probability that the child will be
able to return safely to the parents care within
a reasonable period of time, considering the
child's age and the need for a permanent home.

The parent has abandoned or deserted the child. A
lack of communication or contact with the child
for at least a 6-month period shall constitute prima facie evidence of abandonment or desertion.

R.I. Gen. Laws 40-11-12.2(e) (WESTLAW through Jan. 2002)

Reasonable efforts of the type described above shall not be required to be made with respect to a parent of a child if the court has determined that:

The parent has subjected any child to conduct of
a cruel or abusive nature;

The parent has: committed murder of another child
of the parent; or subjected the child to
aggravating circumstances, which circumstances
shall be abandonment, torture, chronic abuse and
sexual abuse; or committed voluntary manslaughter
of another child of the parent; or aided or
abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to
commit such a murder or such voluntary
manslaughter; or committed a felony assault that
results in serious bodily injury to the child or
another child of the parent; or

The parental rights of the parent to a sibling
have been terminated involuntarily.
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