This is another one of those hard to answer questions because every child’s family and situation is different. The majority of kids that come into care do so with a case plan of reunification. It is always best for children to remain with their birth families whenever possible and it is the state’s job to come up with a plan to help the birth parents overcome the obstacles that brought their kids in to care so that reunification is possible.
If a parent is fully compliant with that plan or not at all compliant, things move much more quickly than the alternative. Fully compliant parents will have their children transition back into their care quicker while the case plan for non-compliant parents will typically change to severance and adoption quicker as well. When parents are only partially compliant, the children spend more time in care as their case manager works with the birth parents to try to resolve the issues that brought the children into care.
Ultimately, the assigned judge makes the decision on how much time and how many chances parents have to be compliant. Kids are not considered adoptable until the judge has made the decision to sever the parental rights. This typically occurs between 1-2 years in care for younger children and can be increased for older children.
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