The Department of Human Resources, any public or private licensed child-placing agency, parent, child, or any interested person may file a petition to terminate the parental rights of a parent or parents of a child.

Terms Used In Alabama Code 12-15-317

  • child: An individual under the age of 18 years, or under 21 years of age and before the juvenile court for a delinquency matter arising before that individual's 18th birthday. See Alabama Code 45-36-248
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • following: means next after. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
  • JUVENILE COURT: The juvenile or family court division of the circuit or district court having jurisdiction over matters as provided by this chapter. See Alabama Code 45-36-248
  • parent: The legal mother or the legal father of a child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court pursuant to this chapter. See Alabama Code 45-36-248
  • person: includes a corporation as well as a natural person. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608

(1) Mandatory filing of petition by the Department of Human Resources. The Department of Human Resources shall be required to file a petition to terminate the parental rights of a parent or parents of a child, or if the petition has been filed by another party, shall seek to be joined as a party to the petition, and, concurrently, to identify, recruit, process, and approve a qualified family for adoption, in the following circumstances:

a. In the case of a child who has been in foster care in the custody of the Department of Human Resources for 12 of the most recent 22 months.

b. If a child has been abandoned.

c. If the parent has committed murder of another child of that parent.

d. If the parent has committed manslaughter of another child of that parent.

e. If the parent has aided, abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or manslaughter of another child of that parent.

f. If the parent has committed a felony assault that has resulted in serious bodily injury, as defined in paragraph c. of subdivision (5) of subsection (a) of Section 12-15-319, to the child, to another child of the parent, or to the other parent of the child.

(2) Exceptions to mandatory filing shall include any of the following factors:

a. The child is being cared for by a relative.

b. The Department of Human Resources has documented in the individualized service plan, which shall be available for review by the juvenile court, a compelling reason for determining that filing a petition would not be in the best interests of the child.

c. The Department of Human Resources has not provided to the family of the child, consistent with the time period in the individualized service plan of the Department of Human Resources, such services as the Department of Human Resources deems necessary for the safe return of the child to his or her home, if reasonable efforts are required to be made with respect to the child.

(Acts 1984, No. 84-261, p. 442, §5; Act 98-370, p. 670, §1; §26-18-5; amended and renumbered by Act 2008-277, p. 441, §19; Act 2013-157, p. 297, §2.)