Additional Remedial Services Before Termination of Parental Rights

In People in Interest of A.R.P. (S.D. 1994) 519 N.W.2d 56, the mother had six children by several different fathers. After the state department of social services (DSS) removed them from her care, service plans were designed for her to follow, but none was ever completed. Her parental rights as to her first five children were terminated in 1989. When the sixth child was born in 1991, it was immediately taken into protective custody, based upon its parents' history. After a lengthy dispositional hearing, the court terminated parental rights without offering remedial services to prevent breakup of the family. The parents appealed, claiming active efforts had not been made to prevent breakup of the family. the South Dakota Supreme Court disagreed, explaining: "Our review of the record shows that the DSS consistently attempted to provide a broad range of services to these parents. Noting that, 'these efforts and their futility must be shown . . .,' we find that the record is more than ample to meet the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). . . . the trial court properly reviewed the history of Mother and Father and the facts relating to the termination of parental rights as to their other . . . children." (People in Interest of A.R.P., supra, 519 N.W.2d at p. 60.) And in short, the court found the efforts made in the sibling cases were sufficient to justify the termination of parental rights without the provision of additional remedial services. (Cf. A.A. v. State (Alaska 1999) 982 P.2d 256, 262 additional services not required where parent demonstrates "lack of commitment to treatment"; A.M. v. State (Alaska 1997) 945 P.2d 296, 305 in determining sufficiency of remedial efforts, court may consider a parent's demonstrated lack of willingness to participate in treatment; C.E.H. v. L.M.W. (Mo.Ct.App. 1992) 837 S.W.2d 947, 957 additional remedial programs not required where prior "efforts became futile and proved unsuccessful"; In re Annette P. (Me. 1991) 589 A.2d 924, 928-929 finding prior remedial efforts sufficient where parents failed to cooperate with case worker or demonstrate interest in reunification; State ex rel. Juv. Dept. v. Woodruff (1991) 108 Ore.App. 352 816 P.2d 623 additional services not required by ICWA where parents with long history of alcohol and drug abuse had received prior services; People in Interest of S. R. (S.D. 1982) 323 N.W.2d 885, 887 finding active efforts within the meaning of the ICWA after repeated but unsuccessful steps were taken to encourage the mother to take advantage of available treatment programs; See also People in Interest of P.B. (S.D. 1985) 371 N.W.2d 366, 372 opining that the state was not "charged with the duty of persisting in efforts that can only be destined for failure".)