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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Virginia

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Statute: 16.1-283(A),(B)-(E),(G)

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 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 child

Circumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination

Failure to Establish Paternity

Full Text of Statute

Va. Code Ann. 16.1-283(A), (B)-(E), (G) (West, WESTLAW through End of 2002 Reg. Sess.)


No petition seeking termination of residual parental rights shall be accepted by the court prior to the filing of a foster care plan which documents termination of residual parental rights as being in the best interests of the child. The court may hear and adjudicate a petition for termination of parental rights in the same proceeding in which the court has approved a foster care plan which documents that termination is in the best interests of the child. The court may terminate the residual parental rights of one parent without affecting the rights of the other parent.

The residual parental rights of a parent or parents of a child found by the court to be neglected or abused and placed in foster care as a result of (1) court commitment, (2) an entrustment agreement entered into by the parent or parents or (3) other voluntary relinquishment by the parent or parents may be terminated if the court finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interests of the child and that:

The neglect or abuse suffered by such child presented a serious and substantial threat to his life, health or development; and

It is not reasonably likely that the conditions
which resulted in such neglect or abuse can be
substantially corrected or eliminated so as to
allow the child's safe return to his parent or
parents within a reasonable period of time. In
making this determination, the court shall take
into consideration the efforts made to
rehabilitate the parent or parents by any public
or private social, medical, mental health or
other rehabilitative agencies prior to the
child's initial placement in foster care.

Proof of any of the following shall constitute
prima facie evidence of the conditions set forth
above:

The parent or parents are suffering from a mental
or emotional illness or mental deficiency of such severity that there is no reasonable expectation that such parent will be able to undertake responsibility for the care needed by the child in accordance with his age and stage of development;

The parent or parents have habitually abused or are addicted to intoxicating liquors, narcotics or other dangerous drugs to the extent that proper parental ability has been seriously impaired and the parent, without good cause, has not responded to or followed through with recommended and available treatment which could have improved the capacity for adequate parental functioning; or

The parent or parents, without good cause, have not responded to or followed through with appropriate, available and reasonable rehabilitative efforts on the part of social, medical, mental health or other rehabilitative agencies designed to reduce, eliminate or prevent the neglect or abuse of the child.

The residual parental rights of a parent or parents of a child placed in foster care as a result of court commitment, an entrustment agreement entered into by the parent or parents or other voluntary relinquishment by the parent or parents may be terminated if the court finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interests of the child and that:

The parent or parents have, without good cause, failed to maintain continuing contact with and to provide or substantially plan for the future of the child for a period of 6 months after the child's placement in foster care, notwithstanding the reasonable and appropriate efforts of social, medical, mental health or other rehabilitative agencies to communicate with the parent or parents and to strengthen the parent-child relationship. Proof that the parent or parents have failed without good cause to communicate on a continuing and planned basis with the child for a period of 6 months shall constitute prima facie evidence of this condition; or

The parent or parents, without good cause, have been unwilling or unable within a reasonable period not to exceed 12 months from the date the child was placed in foster care to remedy substantially the conditions which led to or required continuation of the child's foster care placement, notwithstanding the reasonable and appropriate efforts of social, medical, mental health or other rehabilitative agencies to such end. Proof that the parent or parents, without good cause, have failed or been unable to make substantial progress towards elimination of the conditions which led to or required continuation of the child's foster care placement in accordance with their obligations under and within the time limits or goals set forth in a foster care plan filed with the court or any other plan jointly designed and agreed to by the parent or parents and a public or private social, medical, mental health or other rehabilitative agency shall constitute prima facie evidence of this condition. The court shall take into consideration the prior efforts of such agencies to rehabilitate the parent or parents prior to the placement of the child in foster care.
The residual parental rights of a parent or parents of a child found by the court to be neglected or abused upon the ground of abandonment may be terminated if the court finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interests of the child and that:

The child was abandoned under such circumstances that either the identity or the whereabouts of the parent or parents cannot be determined; and
The child's parent or parents, guardian or relatives have not come forward to identify such child and claim a relationship to the child within 3 months following the issuance of an order by the court placing the child in foster
care; and

Diligent efforts have been made to locate the child's parent or parents without avail.

The residual parental rights of a parent or parents of a child who is in the custody of a local board or licensed child-placing agency may be terminated by the court if the court finds, based upon clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interests of the child and that:

The residual parental rights of the parent regarding a sibling of the child have previously been involuntarily terminated;

The parent has been convicted of an offense under the laws of this Commonwealth or a substantially
similar law of any other State, the United States
or any foreign jurisdiction which constitutes
murder or voluntary manslaughter, or a felony
attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any
such offense, if the victim of the offense was a
child of the parent, a child with whom the parent
resided at the time such offense occurred, or the
other parent of the child;

The parent has been convicted of an offense under
the laws of this Commonwealth or a substantially
similar law of any other State, the United States
or any foreign jurisdiction which constitutes
felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury
or felony bodily wounding resulting in serious
bodily injury or felony sexual assault, if the
victim of the offense was a child of the parent
or a child with whom the parent resided at the
time of such offense; or

The parent has subjected any child to aggravated
circumstances.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this
section, residual parental rights shall not be
terminated if it is established that the child,
if he is 14 years of age or older or otherwise of
an age of discretion as determined by the court,
objects to such termination. However, residual
parental rights of a child 14 years of age or
older may be terminated over the objection of the
child if the court finds that any disability of
the child reduces the child's developmental age
and that the child is not otherwise of an age of
discretion.
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