This section establishes clarity on the criteria that can be used to make a compelling reason determination by the Children’s Service Worker and Division counsel to make and document a decision and the process for ongoing review of that decision by the Division and the Court:
- The Children’s Service Worker, in consultation with his/her supervisor, will document in the case record specific, and detailed reasons, base on the facts of the case, as to why they are not seeking to terminate parental rights.
- The Children Service Worker, Supervisor, Manager and Agency Attorney must review and approve the documented reason for not seeking to terminate parental rights for each case. This approval should be documented in the case record.
- The Family Court Judge should review the determination at each permanency hearing.
- Request the court include documentation of such compelling reasons in the court order.
- If there is disagreement between the Agency and the Court, the Agency should present their determination and justification at subsequent permanency hearings and must include in the court report results of internal review decisions.