WEST virginia legislature
2017 regular session
Senate Bill 456
Senators Trump, Weld, Miller and Gaunch, original sponsors
[Passed April 1, 2017; in effect from passage]
AN ACT to amend and reenact §49-4-605 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to standards for termination of parental rights in child abuse and neglect cases; and clarifying applicability of section when certain crimes are committed by one parent against another.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §49-4-605 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. COURT ACTIONS.
§49-4-605. When department efforts to terminate parental rights are required.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the department shall file or join in a petition or otherwise seek a ruling in any pending proceeding to terminate parental rights:
(1) If a child has been in foster care for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months as determined by the earlier of the date of the first judicial finding that the child is subjected to abuse or neglect or the date which is sixty days after the child is removed from the home;
(2) If a court has determined the child is abandoned, tortured, sexually abused or chronically abused; or
(3) If a court has determined the parent has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another of his or her children, another child in the household, or the other parent of his or her children; has attempted or conspired to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter or has been an accessory before or after the fact of either crime; has committed unlawful or malicious wounding resulting in serious bodily injury to the child or to another of his or her children, another child in the household or to the other parent of his or her children; has committed sexual assault or sexual abuse of the child, the child’s other parent, guardian or custodian, another child of the parent or any other child residing in the same household or under the temporary or permanent custody of the parent; or the parental rights of the parent to another child have been terminated involuntarily.
(b) The department may determine not to file a petition to terminate parental rights when:
(1) At the option of the department, the child has been placed permanently with a relative by court order;
(2) The department has documented in the case plan made available for court review a compelling reason, including, but not limited to, the child’s age and preference regarding termination or the child’s placement in custody of the department based on any proceedings initiated under part seven of this article, that filing the petition would not be in the best interests of the child; or
(3) The department has not provided, when reasonable efforts to return a child to the family are required, the services to the child’s family as the department deems necessary for the safe return of the child to the home.