PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE
TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS
170-C:5 Grounds for Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship.
The petition may be granted where the court finds that one or more of the following conditions exist:
I. The parent has abandoned the child. It shall be presumed that the parent intends to abandon the child who has been left by his parent without provision for his identification or who has been left by his parent in the care and custody of another without any provision for his support, or without communication from such parent for a period of 6 months. If in the opinion of the court the evidence indicates that such parent has made only minimal efforts to support or communicate with the child, the court may declare the child to be abandoned.
II. That, although the parents are financially able, they have substantially and continuously neglected to provide the child with necessary subsistence, education or other care necessary for his mental, emotional, or physical health or have substantially and continuously neglected to pay for such subsistence, education or other care when legal custody is lodged with others; provided, however, it shall not be grounds for the termination of the parent-child relationship for the sole reason the parent of said child relies upon spiritual means through prayer in accordance with a recognized religious method of healing in lieu of medical treatment for the healing of said child.
III. Subsequent to a finding of child neglect or abuse under RSA 169-C, the parents have failed to correct the conditions leading to such a finding within 12 months of the finding despite reasonable efforts under the direction of the court to rectify the conditions.
III-a. Subsequent to a finding of child neglect or abuse under RSA 169-C, the parents have failed to correct the conditions leading to such a finding prior to an early permanency hearing held pursuant to RSA 169-C:24-b, II(b) at which the court changed the child's permanency plan, despite reasonable efforts under the direction of the court to rectify the conditions.
IV. Because of mental deficiency or mental illness, the parent is and will continue to be incapable of giving the child proper parental care and protection for a longer period of time than would be wise or prudent to leave the child in an unstable or impermanent environment. Mental deficiency or mental illness shall be established by the testimony of either 2 licensed psychiatrists or clinical psychologists or one of each acting together.
V. The parent knowingly or willfully caused or permitted another to cause severe sexual, physical, emotional, or mental abuse of the child. Subsequent to a finding of such abuse pursuant to RSA 169-C, the parent-child relationship may be terminated if return of the child to the parent would result in a substantial possibility of harm to the child. A substantial possibility of harm to the child shall be established by testimony of at least 2 of the following factors:
(a) The parent's conduct toward the child has resulted in severe harm to the child.
(b) The parent's conduct toward the child has continued despite the reasonable efforts of authorized agencies in obtaining or providing services for the parent to reduce or alleviate such conduct.
(c) The parent's conduct has continued to occur either over a period of time, or many times, or to such a degree so as to indicate a pattern of behavior on the part of the parent which indicates a complete disregard for the child's health and welfare.
(d) Such conduct is likely to continue with no change in parental behavior, attitude or actions.
Testimony shall be provided by any combination of at least 2 of the following people: a licensed psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a physician, or a social worker who possesses a master's degree in social work and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers.
VI. If the parent or guardian is, as a result of incarceration for a felony offense, unable to discharge his responsibilities to and for the child and, in addition, has been found pursuant to RSA 169-C to have abused or neglected his child or children, the court may review the conviction of the parent or guardian to determine whether the felony offense is of such a nature, and the period of incarceration imposed of such duration, that the child would be deprived of proper parental care and protection and left in an unstable or impermanent environment for a longer period of time than would be prudent. Placement of the child in foster care shall not be considered proper parental care and protection for purposes of this paragraph. Incarceration in and of itself shall not be grounds for termination of parental rights.
VII. The parent has been convicted of one or more of the following offenses:
(a) Murder, pursuant to RSA 630:1-a or 630:1-b, of another child of the parent, a sibling or step-sibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant.
(b) Manslaughter, pursuant to RSA 630:2, of another child of the parent, a sibling or step-sibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant.
(c) Attempt, pursuant to RSA 629:1, solicitation, pursuant to RSA 629:2, or conspiracy, pursuant to RSA 629:3, to commit any of the offenses specified in subparagraphs VII(a) and VII(b).
(d) A felony assault under RSA 631:1, 631:2, 632-A:2, or 632-A:3 which resulted in injury to the child, a sibling or step-sibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant.
Source. 1973, 523:1. 1975, 280:5. 1979, 332:1. 1983, 331:7; 401:1. 1990, 240:5. 1999, 133:2, 4. 2003, 79:1. 2005, 235:1, eff. July 11, 2005. 2021, 219:6, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.