In re Morrow – Reasonable EffortsPosted on January 25th, 2011 No comments
In this case, Father’s rights were terminated under MCL 712A.19b(3)(a)(ii) – desertion for 91 or more days – and MCL 712A.19b(3)(g). The Father lived in Mississippi and had scant contact with the child. Mother had custody of the child and was brought into the court’s jurisdiction based on allegations against Mother. The plan was reunification with Mother. Father was not active in the case because he wished for reunification to proceed with Mother.
At some point, Mother voluntarily terminated her parental rights. DHS failed to provide the father a case service plan, a home visit, a referral for services, and in general made no other efforts at reunification until the mother’s rights were terminated. By failing to look at possible reunification with father, despite his interest, there was a failure to make reasonable efforts toward reunification.
A failure to make reasonable efforts at reunification may prevent petitioner from establishing the statutory grounds for termination. In re Newman, 189 Mich App 61 (1991). The court also found termination on abandonment was premature because Father regularly spoke to and visited the child before the trial court suspended visitation.
Finally, the Court found that the trial court erred in its best interest’s finding. The only evidence presented was 3 supervised visits, which went well. The Court held that the trial court had an insufficient basis to find termination of Father’s parental rights was in the child’s best interests.
The Court remanded for further evaluation and services.
You can view or download the case here: In re Morrow
© 2011, Melinda Deel. All rights reserved.