Current through 2019-2020 Chapter 609
Section 15-11-323 - Reinstatement of parental rights; standard of proof(a) A child who has not been adopted after the passage of at least three years from the date the court terminated parental rights or the parent voluntarily surrendered parental rights to DFCS and for whom the court has determined that adoption is no longer the permanent plan may petition the court to reinstate parental rights pursuant to the modification of orders procedure prescribed by Code Section 15-11-32. Such child may file the petition to reinstate parental rights prior to the expiration of such three-year period if the department or licensed child-placing agency that is responsible for the custody and supervision of such child and such child stipulate that such child is no longer likely to be adopted. A child 14 years of age or older shall sign the petition in the absence of a showing of good cause as to why such child could not do so.(b) If it appears that the best interests of a child may be promoted by reinstatement of parental rights, the court shall order that a hearing be held and shall cause notice to be served by United States mail to DFCS, the attorney of record, guardian ad litem, if any, and foster parents, if any, of the child whose parental rights were terminated or surrendered and the child's former parent whose parental rights were terminated or surrendered. The former parent and foster parents, if any, shall have a right to be heard at the hearing to reinstate parental rights but shall not be parties at such hearing, and such hearing may be conducted in their absence. A child's motion shall be dismissed if his or her former parent cannot be located or if such parent objects to the reinstatement.(c) The court shall grant the petition if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that a child is no longer likely to be adopted and that reinstatement of parental rights is in the child's best interests. In determining whether reinstatement is in the child's best interests the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Whether a parent whose rights are to be reinstated is a fit parent and has remedied his or her deficits as provided in the record of the prior termination proceedings and prior termination order;(2) The age and maturity of a child and the ability of such child to express his or her preference;(3) Whether the reinstatement of parental rights will present a risk to a child's health, welfare, or safety; and(4) Other material changes in circumstances, if any, that may have occurred which warrant the granting of the petition.(d) If the court grants the petition to reinstate parental rights, a review hearing shall be scheduled within six months. During such period, the court may order that a child be immediately placed in the custody of his or her parent or, if the court determines that a transition period is necessary and such child is in DFCS custody at the time of the order, order DFCS to provide transition services to the family as appropriate.(e) An order granted under this Code section reinstates a parent's rights to his or her child. Such reinstatement shall be a recognition that the situation of the parent and his or her child has changed since the time of the termination of parental rights and reunification is now appropriate.(f) This Code section is intended to be retroactive and applied to any child who is under the jurisdiction of the court at the time of the hearing regardless of the date parental rights were terminated.Added by 2013 Ga. Laws 127,§ 1-1, eff. 1/1/2014.