2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 19 - Children's Code
Article 3 - Dependency and Neglect
Part 6 - Termination of the Parent-Child Legal Relationship
§ 19-3-604. Criteria for termination

CO Rev Stat ยง 19-3-604 (2016) What's This?

(1) The court may order a termination of the parent-child legal relationship upon the finding by clear and convincing evidence of any one of the following:

(a) That the child has been adjudicated dependent or neglected and has been abandoned by the child's parent or parents as follows:

(I) That the parent or parents have surrendered physical custody of the child for a period of six months or more and have not manifested during such period the firm intention to resume physical custody of the child or to make permanent legal arrangements for the care of the child except in cases when voluntary placement is renewable under section 19-1-115 (8) (a);

(II) That the identity of the parent of the child is unknown and has been unknown for three months or more and that reasonable efforts to identify and locate the parent in accordance with section 19-3-603 have failed;

(b) That the child is adjudicated dependent or neglected and the court finds that no appropriate treatment plan can be devised to address the unfitness of the parent or parents. In making such a determination, the court shall find one of the following as the basis for unfitness:

(I) Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent of such duration or nature as to render the parent unlikely within a reasonable time to care for the ongoing physical, mental, and emotional needs and conditions of the child;

(II) A single incident resulting in serious bodily injury or disfigurement of the child;

(III) Long-term confinement of the parent of such duration that the parent is not eligible for parole for at least six years after the date the child was adjudicated dependent or neglected or, in a county designated pursuant to section 19-1-123, if the child is under six years of age at the time a petition is filed in accordance with section 19-3-501 (2), the long-term confinement of the parent of such duration that the parent is not eligible for parole for at least thirty-six months after the date the child was adjudicated dependent or neglected and the court has found by clear and convincing evidence that no appropriate treatment plan can be devised to address the unfitness of the parent or parents;

(IV) Serious bodily injury or death of a sibling due to proven parental abuse or neglect;

(V) An identifiable pattern of habitual abuse to which the child or another child has been subjected and, as a result of which, a court has adjudicated another child as neglected or dependent based upon allegations of sexual or physical abuse, or a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that such abuse has caused the death of another child;

(VI) An identifiable pattern of sexual abuse of the child; or

(VII) The torture of or extreme cruelty to the child, a sibling of the child, or another child of either parent;

(c) That the child is adjudicated dependent or neglected and all of the following exist:

(I) That an appropriate treatment plan approved by the court has not been reasonably complied with by the parent or parents or has not been successful or that the court has previously found, pursuant to section 19-3-508 (1) (e), that an appropriate treatment plan could not be devised. In a county designated pursuant to section 19-1-123, if a child is under six years of age at the time a petition is filed in accordance with section 19-3-501 (2), no parent or parents shall be found to be in reasonable compliance with or to have been successful at a court-approved treatment plan when:

(A) The parent has not attended visitations with the child as set forth in the treatment plan, unless good cause can be shown for failing to visit; or

(B) The parent exhibits the same problems addressed in the treatment plan without adequate improvement, including but not limited to improvement in the relationship with the child, and is unable or unwilling to provide nurturing and safe parenting sufficiently adequate to meet the child's physical, emotional, and mental health needs and conditions despite earlier intervention and treatment for the family. The court may receive testimony regarding the family's progress under the treatment plan from the child's physician or therapist, foster parent, educational or religious teachers, CASA volunteer, or caseworker.

(II) That the parent is unfit; and

(III) That the conduct or condition of the parent or parents is unlikely to change within a reasonable time.

(2) In determining unfitness, conduct, or condition for purposes of paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section, the court shall find that continuation of the legal relationship between parent and child is likely to result in grave risk of death or serious bodily injury to the child or that the conduct or condition of the parent or parents renders the parent or parents unable or unwilling to give the child reasonable parental care to include, at a minimum, nurturing and safe parenting sufficiently adequate to meet the child's physical, emotional, and mental health needs and conditions. In making such determinations, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Any one of the bases for a finding of parental unfitness set forth in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section;

(b) Conduct towards the child of a physically or sexually abusive nature;

(c) History of violent behavior;

(d) A single incident of life-threatening or serious bodily injury or disfigurement of the child;

(e) Excessive use of intoxicating liquors or controlled substances, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5), C.R.S., which affects the ability to care and provide for the child;

(f) Neglect of the child;

(g) Injury or death of a sibling due to proven parental abuse or neglect, murder, voluntary manslaughter, or circumstances in which a parent aided, abetted, or attempted the commission of or conspired or solicited to commit murder of a child's sibling;

(h) Reasonable efforts by child-caring agencies which have been unable to rehabilitate the parent or parents;

(i) That any parent who is a named respondent in the termination proceeding has had prior involvement with the department of human services concerning an incident of abuse or neglect involving the child and a subsequent incident of abuse or neglect occurs;

(j) Whether a parent committed felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent;

(k) That the child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the county department for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months, unless:

(I) The child is placed with a relative of the child;

(II) The county department or a state agency has documented in the case plan, which shall be available for court review, that filing such a motion would not be in the best interests of the child;

(III) Where required to make reasonable efforts, services identified as necessary for the safe return of the child to the child's home have not been provided to the family consistent with the time period in the case plan; or

(IV) The child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the county department for such period of time due to circumstances beyond the control of the parent such as incarceration of the parent for a reasonable period of time, court delays or continuances that are not attributable to the parent, or such other reasonable circumstances that the court finds are beyond the control of the parent;

(l) Whether, on two or more occasions, a child in the physical custody of the parent has been adjudicated dependent or neglected in a proceeding under this article or comparable proceedings under the laws of another state or the federal government;

(m) Whether, on one or more prior occasions, a parent has had his or her parent-child legal relationship terminated pursuant to this article or section 19-5-105 or comparable proceedings under the laws of another state or the federal government.

(3) In considering the termination of the parent-child legal relationship, the court shall give primary consideration to the physical, mental, and emotional conditions and needs of the child. The court shall review and order, if necessary, an evaluation of the child's physical, mental, and emotional conditions. For the purpose of determining termination of the parent-child legal relationship, written reports and other materials relating to the child's mental, physical, and social history may be received and considered by the court along with other evidence; but the court, if so requested by the child, his parent or guardian, or any other interested party, shall require that the person who wrote the report or prepared the material appear as a witness and be subject to both direct and cross-examination. In the absence of such request, the court may order the person who prepared the report or other material to appear if it finds that the interest of the child so requires.

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