“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” This statement is a sad reality when attempting to rehabilitate parents before terminating their parental rights. In this case, a child enrolled in the Cherokee Nation was adjudicated dependent and neglected and removed from the mother’s care. The trial court entered a treatment plan for Father, who was addicted to drugs. Father was provided with substance abuse services and treatment, parenting education, supervised visits, and other help—all to no avail. Three years later, Father’s parental rights were terminated. On appeal, Father argued that “active efforts” were not made to rehabilitate him as required by the Indian Child Welfare Act. The court of appeals upheld the termination, and noted the Act does not require expert testimony to support a finding that active efforts were made and were later unsuccessful.
Tag Archives: Active Efforts
People in the Interest of A.V. and J.V., Children, and Concerning M.V., 2012COA210 (November 21, 2012)
People In the Interest of A.R. a Child, and Concerning F.N., and F.S. and A.S., Intervenors, 2012COA195 (November 8, 2012)
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted to address a history of “wholesale removal of Indian children from their homes.” It places minimum federal standards on state proceedings involving an Indian child. In this case, Colorado sought to terminate the parental rights of an Indian mother whose child had significant special needs. During the proceedings, the Department of Human Services changed course from seeking termination, to seeking placement with extended family. The trial court terminated parental rights, granted the Department guardianship, but precluded placement with extended family. The court of appeals affirmed termination, finding the Department used “active efforts” to rehabilitate mother, which failed. But, the trial court erroneously deviated from the ICWA’s placement preferences, thus, Department could place the child with extended family.