Appendix 5000-1: When a Suit to Terminate Must Be Filed
DFPS is required to file a suit to terminate parental rights if:
a child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for 15 of the most recent 22 months, or, if a court of competent jurisdiction has determined a child to be an abandoned infant (as defined under State law) or has made a determination that the parent has committed murder of another child of the parent, committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent, aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or such a voluntary manslaughter, or committed a felony assault that has resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent. If such a petition has been filed by another party, DFPS is required to seek to be joined as a party to the petition. Concurrently, DFPS is required to identify, recruit, process, and approve a qualified family for an adoption. The only exceptions allowed are:
(i) at the option of the State, the child is being cared for by a relative;
(ii) a State agency has documented in the case plan (which shall be available for court review) a compelling reason for determining that filing such a petition would not be in the best interest of the child; or
(iii) the State has not provided to the family of the child, consistent with the time period in the State case plan, such services as the State deems necessary for the safe return of the child to the child's home, if reasonable efforts of the type described in section 471(a)(15)(B)(ii) are required to be made with respect to the child.
42 U.S.C. 675: Sec. 475 (5)(E) of the Social Security Act