Adoption and Safe Families Act – Termination of Parental Rights

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) requires a state to file a petition to terminate a parent’s parental rights to a child if:

(1) the child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months;

* The period begins to run on the earlier of the following two dates: the date of the first judicial finding that the child has been abused or neglected or 60 days after the child has been removed from his or her home.

(2) a court has determined that the child is an “abandoned infant” as defined by state law; or

(3) the parent has been convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent, the parent has been convicted of aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit such murder or voluntary manslaughter, or the parent has been convicted of a felony assault that has resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent.

The ASFA does not require a state to file a petition to terminate parental rights if:

(1) the child is being cared for by a relative;

(2) the state has documented in the case plan a compelling reason for determining that such a petition would not be in the best interest of the child; or

(3) the state has not provided the services necessary for the safe return of the child in a case in which the state is required to make reasonable efforts to reunify the child’s family.