Appendix B: State-By-State Analysis of Dependency Statutes and Their Inclusion of Disability

(Adapted from Elizabeth Lightfoot, Katharine Hill, and Traci LaLiberte, “The Inclusion of Disability as a Condition for Termination of Parental Rights,” Child Abuse and Neglect 34 (2010): 927-934.)

StateDisability as Grounds for Termination of Parental RightsIntellectual or Developmental DisabilityMental IllnessEmotional DisabilityPhysical DisabilityOtherCitation and Language
Alabama Yes X X X

Ala.Code 1975 § 12-15-319 (2009)

(a) If the juvenile court finds from clear and convincing evidence, competent, material, and relevant in nature, that the parents of a child are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, or that the conduct or condition of the parents renders them unable to properly care for the child and that the conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, it may terminate the parental rights of the parents. In determining whether or not the parents are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child and to terminate the parental rights, the juvenile court shall consider the following factors including, but not limited to, the following:

(2) Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent, or excessive use of alcohol or controlled substances, of a duration or nature as to render the parent unable to care for needs of the child.

Alaska Yes X X X

AK ST § 47.10.011 (1998)

Subject to AS 47.10.019, the court may find a child to be a child in need of aid if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the child has been subjected to any of the following:

(11) the parent, guardian, or custodian has a mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, or mental deficiency of a nature and duration that places the child at substantial risk of physical harm or mental injury.
AK ST § 47.10.088 (2008)

(a) Except as provided in AS 47.10.080(o), the rights and responsibilities of the parent regarding the child may be terminated for purposes of freeing a child for adoption or other permanent placement if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that

(1) the child has been subjected to conduct or conditions described in AS 47.10.011.

Arizona Yes X X

A.R.S. § 8-533 (2011)

B. Evidence sufficient to justify the termination of the parent-child relationship shall include any one of the following, and in considering any of the following grounds, the court shall also consider the best interests of the child:

3. That the parent is unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of mental illness, mental deficiency or a history of chronic abuse of dangerous drugs, controlled substances or alcohol and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the condition will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period.

Arkansas Yes X X X

A.C.A. § 9-27-341 (2011)

(b)(3) An order forever terminating parental rights shall be based upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence:

(B) Of one (1) or more of the following grounds:

(vii)(a) That other factors or issues arose subsequent to the filing of the original petition for dependency-neglect that demonstrate that return of the juvenile to the custody of the parent is contrary to the juvenile’s health, safety, or welfare and that, despite the offer of appropriate family services, the parent has manifested the incapacity or indifference to remedy the subsequent issues or factors or rehabilitate the parent’s circumstances that prevent return of the juvenile to the custody of the parent.

(b) The department shall make reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., to parents with disabilities in order to allow them meaningful access to reunification and family preservation services.

(c) For purposes of this subdivision (b)(3)(B)(vii), the inability or incapacity to remedy or rehabilitate includes, but is not limited to, mental illness, emotional illness, or mental deficiencies.

California Yes X X

Cal.Welf. & Inst.Code § 361.5 (2011)

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), or when the parent has voluntarily relinquished the child and the relinquishment has been filed with the State Department of Social Services, or upon the establishment of an order of guardianship pursuant to Section 360, whenever a child is removed from a parent’s or guardian’s custody, the juvenile court shall order the social worker to provide child welfare services to the child and the child’s mother and statutorily presumed father or guardians. Upon a finding and declaration of paternity by the juvenile court or proof of a prior declaration of paternity by any court of competent jurisdiction, the juvenile court may order services for the child and the biological father, if the court determines that the services will benefit the child.

(b) Reunification services need not be provided to a parent or guardian described in this subdivision when the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, any of the following:

(2) That the parent or guardian is suffering from a mental disability that is described in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7820) of Part 4 of Division 12 of the Family Code and that renders him or her incapable of utilizing those services.

Cal.Fam.Code § 7827 (2002)

(a) “Mentally disabled” as used in this section means that a parent or parents suffer a mental incapacity or disorder that renders the parent or parents unable to care for and control the child adequately.

Colorado Yes X X X

C.R.S.A. § 19-3-604 (2008)

(1) The court may order a termination of the parent-child legal relationship upon the finding by clear and convincing evidence of any one of the following:

(b) That the child is adjudicated dependent or neglected and the court finds that no appropriate treatment plan can be devised to address the unfitness of the parent or parents. In making such a determination, the court shall find one of the following as the basis for unfitness:

(I) Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent of such duration or nature as to render the parent unlikely within a reasonable time to care for the ongoing physical, mental, and emotional needs and conditions of the child.

Connecticut No C.G.S.A. § 17a-112 (2006)
Delaware Yes X X

13 Del.C. § 1103 (2009)

(a) The procedure for termination of parental rights for the purpose of adoption or, if a suitable adoption plan cannot be effected, for the purpose of providing for the care of the child by some other plan which may or may not contemplate the continued possibility of eventual adoption, may be initiated whenever it appears to be in the child’s best interest and that 1 or more of the following grounds exist:

(3) The parent or parents of the child or any person or persons holding parental rights over such child are found by the Court to be mentally incompetent and, from evidence of 2 qualified psychiatrists selected by the Court, found to be unable to discharge parental responsibilities in the foreseeable future. The Court shall appoint a licensed attorney as guardian ad litem to represent the alleged incompetent in the proceeding.

13 Del.C. § 1101 (2000)

(9) “Mentally incompetent” shall be interpreted as referring to a parent who is unable to discharge parental responsibilities by reason of mental illness, psychopathology, mental retardation or mental deficiency.

District of Columbia Yes X X X

DC ST § 16-2353 (1999)

(a) A judge may enter an order for the termination of the parent and child relationship when the judge finds from the evidence presented, after giving due consideration to the interests of all parties, that the termination is in the best interests of the child.

(b) In determining whether it is in the child’s best interests that the parent and child relationship be terminated, a judge shall consider each of the following factors:

(2) the physical, mental and emotional health of all individuals involved to the degree that such affects the welfare of the child, the decisive consideration being the physical, mental and emotional needs of the child.

Florida No F.S.A. § 39.806 (2009)
Georgia Yes X X X X

Ga. Code Ann., § 15-11-94 (2004)

(a) In considering the termination of parental rights, the court shall first determine whether there is present clear and convincing evidence of parental misconduct or inability as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section. If there is clear and convincing evidence of such parental misconduct or inability, the court shall then consider whether termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child, after considering the physical, mental, emotional, and moral condition and needs of the child who is the subject of the proceeding, including the need for a secure and stable home. If the court finds clear and convincing evidence of the circumstance provided in paragraph (5) of subsection (b) of this Code section, the court shall presume that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child.

(b) Except as provided in subsections (e) through (h) of Code Section 15-11-96, the court by order may terminate the parental rights of a parent with respect to the parent’s child if:

(4)(B) In determining whether the child is without proper parental care and control, the court shall consider, without being limited to, the following:

(i) A medically verifiable deficiency of the parent’s physical, mental, or emotional health of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to provide adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of the child;

(ii) Excessive use of or history of chronic unrehabilitated abuse of intoxicating liquors or narcotic or dangerous drugs or controlled substances with the effect of rendering the parent incapable of providing adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of the child.

Hawaii Yes X X

HRS § 571-61 (2011)

(b) Involuntary termination.

(1) The family courts may terminate the parental rights in respect to any child as to any legal parent:

(F) Who is found by the court to be mentally ill or intellectually disabled and incapacitated from giving consent to the adoption of or from providing now and in the foreseeable future the care necessary for the well-being of the child.

Idaho No I.C. § 16-2005 (2005)
Illinois Yes X X

750 ILCS 50/1 (2011)

§ 1. Definitions. When used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

D. “Unfit person” means any person whom the court shall find to be unfit to have a child, without regard to the likelihood that the child will be placed for adoption. The grounds of unfitness are any one or more of the following, except that a person shall not be considered an unfit person for the sole reason that the person has relinquished a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act:


(p) Inability to discharge parental responsibilities supported by competent evidence from a psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker, or clinical psychologist of mental impairment, mental illness or an intellectual disability as defined in Section 1-116 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, or developmental disability as defined in Section 1-106 of that Code, and there is sufficient justification to believe that the inability to discharge parental responsibilities shall extend beyond a reasonable time period. However, this subdivision (p) shall not be construed so as to permit a licensed clinical social worker to conduct any medical diagnosis to determine mental illness or mental impairment.

705 ILCS 405/1-2 (1998)

(1) The purpose of this Act is to secure for each minor subject hereto such care and guidance, preferably in his or her own home, as will serve the safety and moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare of the minor and the best interests of the community; to preserve and strengthen the minor’s family ties whenever possible, removing him or her from the custody of his or her parents only when his or her safety or welfare or the protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without removal; if the child is removed from the custody of his or her parent, the Department of Children and Family Services immediately shall consider concurrent planning, as described in Section 5 of the Children and Family Services Act so that permanency may occur at the earliest opportunity; consideration should be given so that if reunification fails or is delayed, the placement made is the best available placement to provide permanency for the child; and, when the minor is removed from his or her own family, to secure for him or her custody, care and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should be given by his or her parents, and in cases where it should and can properly be done to place the minor in a family home so that he or she may become a member of the family by legal adoption or otherwise. Provided that a ground for unfitness under the Adoption Act can be met, it may be appropriate to expedite termination of parental rights:

(c) in those extreme cases in which the parent’s incapacity to care for the child, combined with an extremely poor prognosis for treatment or rehabilitation, justifies expedited termination of parental rights.

Indiana No IC 31-35-2-4 (2010)
Iowa Yes X

I.C.A. § 232.116 (2011)

1. Except as provided in subsection 3, the court may order the termination of both the parental rights with respect to a child and the relationship between the parent and the child on any of the following grounds:

k. The court finds that all of the following have occurred:

(2) The parent has a chronic mental illness and has been repeatedly institutionalized for mental illness, and presents a danger to self or others as evidenced by prior acts.

Kansas Yes X X X X

K.S.A. 38-2269 (2008)

(a) When the child has been adjudicated to be a child in need of care, the court may terminate parental rights or appoint a permanent custodian when the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit by reason of conduct or condition which renders the parent unable to care properly for a child and the conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

(b) In making a determination of unfitness the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following, if applicable:

(1) Emotional illness, mental illness, mental deficiency or physical disability of the parent, of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to care for the ongoing physical, mental and emotional needs of the child.

Kentucky Yes X X

KRS Section 625.090 (2000)

(3) In determining the best interest of the child and the existence of a ground for termination, the Circuit Court shall consider the following factors: (a) Mental illness as defined by KRS 202A.011(9), or mental retardation as defined by KRS 202B.010(9) of the parent as certified by a qualified mental health professional, which renders the parent consistently unable to care for the immediate and ongoing physical or psychological needs of the child for extended periods of time.
KRS Section 202A.011 (9) (2005)

Mentally ill person means a person with substantially impaired capacity to use self-control, judgment or discretion in the conduct of the person’s affairs and social relations, associated with maladaptive behavior or recognized emotional symptoms where impaired capacity, maladaptive behavior, or emotional symptoms can be related to physiological, psychological or social factors.

KRS Section 202B.010 (9) (2005)

Mentally retarded person means a person with significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.

Louisiana No

LSA-Ch.C. Art. 1015 (2004)

[Only mention of disability]: The grounds for termination of parental rights are: (i) abuse or neglect which is chronic, life threatening, or results in gravely disabling physical or psychological injury or disfigurement.

Maine No Chronic substance abuse problem

22 M.R.S.A. § 4055 1-A (2009)

The court may presume that the parent is unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy and these circumstances are unlikely to change within a time which is reasonably calculated to meet the child’s needs if:

(C) The child has been placed in the legal custody or care of the department, the parent has a chronic substance abuse problem, and the parent’s prognosis indicates that the child will not be able to return to the custody of the parent within a reasonable period of time, considering the child’s age and the need for a permanent home. The fact that a parent has been unable to provide safe care of a child for a period of 9 months due to substance abuse constitutes a chronic substance abuse problem.

Maryland Yes X X X X

MD Code, Family Law, § 5-323 (d) (2009)

Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, in ruling on a petition for guardianship of a child, a juvenile court shall give primary consideration to the health and safety of the child and consideration to all other factors needed to determine whether terminating a parent’s rights is in the child’s best interests, including:

(iii) the existence of a parental disability that makes the parent consistently unable to care for the child’s immediate and ongoing physical or psychological needs for long periods of time; and

(iv) whether additional services would be likely to bring about a lasting parental adjustment so that the child could be returned to the parent within an ascertainable time not to exceed 18 months from the date of placement unless the juvenile court makes a specific finding that it is in the child’s best interests to extend the time for a specified period;

Massachusetts Yes X X Alcohol or drug addiction

M.G.L.A. 210 § 3 (2008)

(c) In considering the fitness of the child’s parent or other person named in section 2, the court shall consider, without limitation, the following factors: (xii) a condition which is reasonably likely to continue for a prolonged, indeterminate period, such as alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency or mental illness, and the condition makes the parent or other person named in section 2 unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child;

Michigan No M.C.L.A. 712A.19b (2010)
Minnesota No Chemical dependency

M.S.A. § 260C.301 (2010)

The juvenile court may upon petition, terminate all rights of a parent to a child:

(b) if it finds that one or more of the following conditions exist:

(5) that following the child’s placement out of the home, reasonable efforts, under the direction of the court, have failed to correct the conditions leading to the child’s placement. It is presumed that reasonable efforts under this clause have failed upon a showing that: (iv) reasonable efforts have been made by the social services agency to rehabilitate the parent and reunite the family. It is also presumed that reasonable efforts have failed under this clause upon a showing that:

(A) the parent has been diagnosed as chemically dependent by a professional certified to make the diagnosis;

(B) the parent has been required by a case plan to participate in a chemical dependency treatment program;

(C) the treatment programs offered to the parent were culturally, linguistically, and clinically appropriate;

(D) the parent has either failed two or more times to successfully complete a treatment program or has refused at two or more separate meetings with a caseworker to participate in a treatment program; and

(E) the parent continues to abuse chemicals.

Mississippi Yes X X X

Miss. Code Ann. § 93-15-103 (3) (2003)


Grounds for termination of parental rights shall be based on one or more of the following factors:


(e) The parent exhibits ongoing behavior which would make it impossible to return the child to the parent’s care and custody:


(i) Because the parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time such as alcohol or drug addiction, severe mental deficiencies or mental illness, or extreme physical incapacitation, which condition makes the parent unable to assume minimally, acceptable care of the child;

Missouri Yes X X Chemical dependency

V. A. M. S. 211.477 (2003)


5. The juvenile officer or the division may file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child’s parent when it appears that one or more of the following grounds for termination exist:


(2) The child has been abused or neglected. In determining whether to terminate parental rights pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall consider and make findings on the following conditions or acts of the parent:

(a) A mental condition which is shown by competent evidence either to be permanent or such that there is no reasonable likelihood that the condition can be reversed and which renders the parent unable to knowingly provide the child the necessary care, custody and control;

(b) Chemical dependency which prevents the parent from consistently providing the necessary care, custody and control of the child and which cannot be treated so as to enable the parent to consistently provide such care, custody and control; … Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability or disease; 10. The disability or disease of a parent shall not constitute a basis for a determination that a child is a child in need of care, for the removal of custody of a child from the parent, or for the termination of parent rights without a specific showing that there is a causal relation between the disability or disease and harm to the child.

Montana Yes X X X

MCA 41-3-609 (1) (2005)

The court may order a termination of the parent-child legal relationship upon a finding established by clear and convincing evidence, except as provided in the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, if applicable, that any of the following circumstances exist: (f) the child is an adjudicated youth in need of care and both of the following exist:

(i) an appropriate treatment plan that has been approved by the court has not been complied with by the parents or has not been successful; and

(ii) the conduct or condition of the parents rendering them unfit is unlikely to change within a reasonable time.

(2) In determining whether the conduct or condition of the parents is unlikely to change within a reasonable time, the court shall enter a finding that continuation of the parent-child legal relationship will likely result in continued abuse or neglect or that the conduct or the condition of the parents renders the parents unfit, unable, or unwilling to give the child adequate parental care. In making the determinations, the court shall consider but is not limited to the following:

(a) emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent of a duration or nature as to render the parent unlikely to care for the ongoing physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child within a reasonable time;

Nebraska Yes X X Habitual use of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs

Neb.Rev.St. § 43-292 (2009)

The court may terminate all parental rights between the parents or the mother of a juvenile born out of wedlock and such juvenile when the court finds such action to be in the best interests of the juvenile and it appears by the evidence that one or more of the following conditions exist:

(4) The parents are unfit by reason of debauchery, habitual use of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs, or repeated lewd and lascivious behavior, which conduct is found by the court to be seriously detrimental to the health, morals, or well-being of the juvenile;

(5) The parents are unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of mental illness or mental deficiency and there are reasonable grounds to believe that such condition will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period;

Nevada Yes X X X

N.R.S. 128.105, (1999) – [General statute on the termination of parental rights grounds—no language]

N.R.S. 128.106 (2005)- [Specific considerations in determining neglect and unfitness]

In determining neglect by or unfitness of a parent, the court shall consider, without limitation, the following conditions which may diminish suitability as a parent:

1. Emotional illness, mental illness or mental deficiency of the parent which renders the parent consistently unable to care for the immediate and continuing physical or psychological needs of the child for extended periods of time.

New Hampshire Yes X X

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 170-C:5 (2005)

The petition may be granted where the court finds that one or more of the following conditions exist:

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.

New Jersey Yes X

N.J.S.A. 9:2-19 (1990)

(f) If the court shall determine that custody of the child has been surrendered as provided in Article II of this act, the court may declare that the person making such surrender shall have no further right to custody of the child. If the court shall determine that a parent of the child is dead, or mentally incompetent, or has forsaken parental obligation, the court may declare that such parent shall have no further right to custody of the child.

New Mexico Yes X X X

N. M. S. A. 1978, § 32A-4-28 (2005)

A. In proceedings to terminate parental rights, the court shall give primary consideration to the physical, mental and emotional welfare and needs of the child, including the likelihood of the child being adopted if parental rights are terminated.

B. The court shall terminate parental rights with respect to a child when:

(2) the child has been a neglected or abused child as defined in the Abuse and Neglect Act and the court finds that the conditions and causes of the neglect and abuse are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future despite reasonable efforts by the department or other appropriate agency to assist the parent in adjusting the conditions that render the parent unable to properly care for the child. The court may find in some cases that efforts by the department or another agency are unnecessary, when:

(a) there is a clear showing that the efforts would be futile; or

(b) the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances; or

(3) the child has been placed in the care of others, including care by other relatives, either by a court order or otherwise and the following conditions exist:

(a) the child has lived in the home of others for an extended period of time;

(b) the parent-child relationship has disintegrated;

(c) a psychological parent-child relationship has developed between the substitute family and the child;

(d) if the court deems the child of sufficient capacity to express a preference, the child no longer prefers to live with the natural parent;


(e) the substitute family desires to adopt the child; and


(f) a presumption of abandonment created by the conditions described in Subparagraphs (a) through (e) of this paragraph has not been rebutted.

N. M. S. A. 1978, § 32A-4-2 (2009)

As used in the Abuse and Neglect Act:

E. “neglected child” means a child:

(4) whose parent, guardian or custodian is unable to discharge that person’s responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization or physical or mental disorder or incapacity;

N. M. S. A. 1978, § 32A-4-29 (2009)

G. When a child has been in foster care for not less than fifteen of the previous twenty-two months, the department shall file a motion to terminate parental rights, unless:

(4) a parent is terminally ill, but in remission, and does not want parental rights to be terminated; provided that the parent has designated a guardian for the child;

New York Yes X X

NY SOC SERV § 384-b (2010)

4. An order committing the guardianship and custody of a child pursuant to this section shall be granted only upon one or more of the following grounds:

(c) The parent or parents, whose consent to the adoption of the child would otherwise be required in accordance with section one hundred eleven of the domestic relations law, are presently and for the foreseeable future unable, by reason of mental illness or mental retardation, to provide proper and adequate care for a child who has been in the care of an authorized agency for the period of one year immediately prior to the date on which the petition is filed in the court;

6. (a) For the purposes of this section, “mental illness” means an affliction with a mental disease or mental condition which is manifested by a disorder or disturbance in behavior, feeling, thinking or judgment to such an extent that if such child were placed in or returned to the custody of the parent, the child would be in danger of becoming a neglected child as defined in the family court act.

(b) For the purposes of this section, “mental retardation” means sub-average intellectual functioning which originates during the developmental period and is associated with impairment in adaptive behavior to such an extent that if such child were placed in or returned to the custody of the parent, the child would be in danger of becoming a neglected child as defined in the family court act.

(c) The legal sufficiency of the proof in a proceeding upon the ground set forth in paragraph (c) of subdivision four of this section shall not be determined until the judge has taken the testimony of a psychologist, or psychiatrist, in accordance with paragraph (e) of this subdivision.

(d) A determination or order upon a ground set forth in paragraph (c) of subdivision four shall in no way affect any other right, or constitute an adjudication of the legal status of the parent.

(e) In every proceeding upon a ground set forth in paragraph (c) of subdivision four the judge shall order the parent to be examined by, and shall take the testimony of, a qualified psychiatrist or a psychologist licensed pursuant to article one hundred fifty-three of the education law as defined in section 730.10 of the criminal procedure law in the case of a parent alleged to be mentally ill or retarded, such psychologist or psychiatrist to be appointed by the court pursuant to section thirty-five of the judiciary law. The parent and the authorized agency shall have the right to submit other psychiatric, psychological or medical evidence. If the parent refuses to submit to such court-ordered examination, or if the parent renders himself unavailable therefore whether before or after the initiation of a proceeding under this section, by departing from the state or by concealing himself therein, the appointed psychologist or psychiatrist, upon the basis of other available information, including, but not limited to, agency, hospital or clinic records, may testify without an examination of such parent, provided that such other information affords a reasonable basis for his opinion.

North Carolina Yes X X Substance abuse

N.C.G.S.A. § 7B-1111(2007)

(a) The court may terminate the parental rights upon a finding of one or more of the following:

(6) That the parent is incapable of providing for the proper care and supervision of the juvenile, such that the juvenile is a dependent juvenile within the meaning of G.S. 7B-101, and that there is a reasonable probability that such incapability will continue for the foreseeable future. Incapability under this subdivision may be the result of substance abuse, mental retardation, mental illness, organic brain syndrome, or any other cause or condition that renders the parent unable or unavailable to parent the juvenile and the parent lacks an appropriate alternative child care arrangement.

North Dakota Yes X X X X Other illness or disability

ND ST § 27-20-02

(d) [A deprived child is defined as one who] is without proper parental care, control, or education as required by law, or other care and control necessary for the child’s well-being because of the physical, mental, emotional, or other illness or disability of the child’s parent or parents, and that such lack of care is not due to a willful act of commission or act of omission by the child’s parents, and care is requested by a parent;
ND ST § 27-20-44

(1) The court by order may terminate the parental rights of a parent with respect to the parent’s child if:

(c) The child is a deprived child…

Ohio Yes X X X X Chemical dependency

OH R.C. § 2151.414

A.(2) If all of the following apply, permanent custody is in the best interest of the child…: (a) The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that one or more of the factors in division (E) of this section exist... (E) (2) Chronic mental illness, chronic emotional illness, mental retardation, physical disability, or chemical dependency of the parent that is so severe that it makes the parent unable to provide an adequate permanent home for the child…

Oklahoma Yes X X X X

10A Okl.St.Ann. § 1-4-90413

A finding that all of the following exist:

(a) the parent has a diagnosed cognitive disorder, an extreme physical incapacity, or a medical condition, including behavioral health which renders the parent incapable of adequately and appropriately exercising parental rights, duties, and responsibilities within a reasonable time considering the age of the child, and

(b) allowing the parent to have custody would cause the child actual harm or harm in the near future.

A parent’s refusal or pattern of noncompliance with treatment, therapy, medication, or assistance from outside the home can be used as evidence that the parent is incapable of adequately and appropriately exercising parental rights, duties, and responsibilities.

A finding that a parent has a diagnosed cognitive disorder, an extreme physical incapacity, or a medical condition, including behavioral health or substance dependency shall not in and of itself deprive the parent of parental rights.

Oregon No
Pennsylvania No
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes X X X Alcohol or drug addiction

Code 1976 § 63-7-2570

The family court may order the termination of parental rights upon a finding of one or more of the following grounds and a finding that termination is in the best interest of the child:

(6) The parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time including, but not limited to, alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the parent unable or unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child. It is presumed that the parent’s condition is unlikely to change within a reasonable time upon proof that the parent has been required by the department or the family court to participate in a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction, and the parent has failed two or more times to complete the program successfully or has refused at two or more separate meetings with the department to participate in a treatment program.

South Dakota No
Tennessee Yes X X X

T.C.A. § 36-1-113

(8)(A) The chancery and circuit courts shall have jurisdiction in an adoption proceeding, and the chancery, circuit, and juvenile courts shall have jurisdiction in a separate, independent proceeding conducted prior to an adoption proceeding to determine if the parent or guardian is mentally incompetent to provide for the further care and supervision of the child, and to terminate that parent’s or guardian’s rights to the child;

(B) The court may terminate the parental or guardianship rights of that person if it determines on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that:

(i) The parent or guardian of the child is incompetent to adequately provide for the further care and supervision of the child because the parent’s or guardian’s mental condition is presently so impaired and is so likely to remain so that it is unlikely that the parent or guardian will be able to assume or resume the care of and responsibility for the child in the near future; and

(ii) That termination of parental or guardian rights is in the best interest of the child;

(C) In the circumstances described under subdivisions (8)(A) and (B), no willfulness in the failure of the parent or guardian to establish the parent’s or guardian’s ability to care for the child need be shown to establish that the parental or guardianship rights should be terminated;

Texas Yes X X X

V.T.C.A., Family Code § 161.003

(a) The court may order termination of the parent-child relationship in a suit filed by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services if the court finds that:

(1) the parent has a mental or emotional illness or a mental deficiency that renders the parent unable to provide for the physical, emotional, and mental needs of the child;

(2) the illness or deficiency, in all reasonable probability, proved by clear and convincing evidence, will continue to render the parent unable to provide for the child’s needs until the 18th birthday of the child;

Utah Yes*

U.C.A. 1953 § 78A-6-507

(1) The court may terminate all parental rights with respect to a parent if the court finds any one of the following: (c) that the parent is unfit or incompetent

[The language is so vague it could mean any disability, but none is stated directly.]

Vermont No
Virginia Yes X X X

VA Code Ann § 16.1-283

(A) The residual parental rights of a parent or parents may be terminated by the court as hereinafter provided in a separate proceeding if the petition specifically requests such relief…

(a) The parent or parents are suffering from a mental or emotional illness or mental deficiency of such severity that there is no reasonable expectation that such parent will be able to undertake responsibility for the care needed by the child in accordance with his age and stage of development;

Washington Yes X X

West’s RCWA § 13.34.180

(1) A petition seeking termination of a parent and child relationship may be filed in juvenile court by any party to the dependency proceedings concerning that child. (e) That there is little likelihood that conditions will be remedied so that the child can be returned to the parent in the near future…In determining whether the conditions will be remedied the court may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors: (ii) Psychological incapacity or mental deficiency of the parent that is so severe and chronic as to render the parent incapable of providing proper care for the child for extended periods of time or for periods of time that present a risk of imminent harm to the child, and documented unwillingness of the parent to receive and complete treatment or documentation that there is no treatment that can render the parent capable of providing proper care for the child in the near future….

West Virginia Yes X X X

W. VA. Code § 49-6-5

(a) Following a determination pursuant to section two of this article wherein the court finds a child to be abused or neglected, the department shall file with the court a copy of the child’s case plan, including the permanency plan for the child…. The court shall give precedence to dispositions in the following sequence:…(6) Upon a finding that there is no reasonable likelihood that the conditions of neglect or abuse can be substantially corrected in the near future and, when necessary for the welfare of the child, terminate the parental, custodial and guardianship rights and responsibilities of the abusing parent…(b) As used in this section, “no reasonable likelihood that conditions of neglect or abuse can be substantially corrected” shall mean that…(6) The abusing parent or parents have incurred emotional illness, mental illness or mental deficiency of such duration or nature as to render such parent or parents incapable of exercising proper parenting skills or sufficiently improving the adequacy of such skills.

Wisconsin Yes X X X

W.S.A. § 48.415

(3) Continuing parental disability. Continuing parental disability, which shall be established by proving that: (a) The parent is presently, and for a cumulative total period of at least 2 years within the 5 years immediately prior to the filing of the petition has been, an inpatient at one or more hospitals... (c) licensed treatment facilities …or state treatment facilities…on account of mental illness…or…developmental disability…or other like incapacities…; (b) The condition of the parent is likely to continue indefinitely; and (c) The child is not being provided with adequate care by a relative who has legal custody of the child, or by a parent or a guardian.

Wyoming No

National Council on Disability • 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850 • Washington, DC 20004