Section 12-15-301


For purposes of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

(1) ABANDONMENT. A voluntary and intentional relinquishment of the custody of a child by a parent, or a withholding from the child, without good cause or excuse, by the parent, of his or her presence, care, love, protection, maintenance, or the opportunity for the display of filial affection, or the failure to claim the rights of a parent, or failure to perform the duties of a parent.

(2) ABUSE. Harm or the risk of harm to the emotional, physical health, or welfare of a child. Harm or the risk of harm to the emotional, physical health, or welfare of a child can occur through nonaccidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or attempted sexual abuse or sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation.

(3) AGE OR DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE. Activities or items that are generally accepted as suitable for children of the same chronological age or level of maturity or that are determined to be developmentally appropriate for a child based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities that are typical for an age or age group and, in the case of a specific child, activities or items that are suitable for the child based on the developmental stages attained by the child with respect to the cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities of the child.

(4) CAREGIVER. An individual 21 years of age or older, other than a parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian of a child who is an approved foster parent and who is a relative of the child and has been providing care and support for the child while the child has been residing in the home of the caregiver for at least the last six consecutive months while in the legal custody of the Department of Human Resources or a designated official for a child-placing agency or a successor guardian.

(5) CHILD-PLACING AGENCY. The same as the term is defined in subdivision (3) of Section 38-7-2.

(6) ELIGIBLE CHILD. In addition to the definition of child in subdivision (3) of Section 12-15-102, an individual under 18 years of age who has been residing with the caregiver for at least the last six consecutive months while in the legal custody of the Department of Human Resources.

(7) KINSHIP GUARDIAN. A caregiver who is willing to assume care of a child because of parental incapacity of a parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian, or other dependency reasons, with the intent to raise the child to adulthood, and who is appointed the kinship guardian of the child by a juvenile court. A kinship guardian shall be responsible for the care and protection of the child and for providing for the health, education, and maintenance of the child.

(8) NEGLECT. Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including, but not limited to, the failure to provide adequate food, medical treatment, supervision, education, clothing, or shelter.

(9) PARENTAL INCAPACITY. Abandonment or incapacity of such a serious nature as to demonstrate that the parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian is unable, unavailable, or unwilling to perform the regular and expected functions of care and support of the child.

(10) PROTECTIVE SUPERVISION. A legal status created by order of the juvenile court following an adjudication of dependency whereby a child is placed with a parent or other person subject to supervision by the Department of Human Resources.

(11) REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD. The standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child, while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in foster care under the responsibility of the state to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

(12) REASONABLE EFFORTS. Efforts made to preserve and reunify families prior to the placement of a child in foster care, to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from his or her home, and to make it possible for a child to return safely to his or her home. Reasonable efforts also refers to efforts made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan, and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanency placement of the child. In determining the reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child, and in making these reasonable efforts, the health and safety of the child shall be the paramount concern.

(13) RELATIVE. An individual who is legally related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption within the fourth degree of kinship, including only a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, grandparent, great grandparent, great-aunt, great-uncle, great great grandparent, niece, nephew, grandniece, grandnephew, or a stepparent.

(14) SEXUAL ABUSE. Sexual abuse includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or having a child assist any person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of the conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of the conduct. Sexual abuse also includes rape, molestation, prostitution, or other forms of sexual exploitation or abuse of children, or incest with children, as those acts are defined in this article or by Alabama law.

(15) SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. Sexual exploitation includes allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution and allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child.

(16) SUCCESSOR GUARDIAN. A person or persons named in a kinship guardianship assistance agreement, or any amendments thereto, as the person or persons to provide care and guardianship for a child in the event of the death or incapacity of a kinship guardian. The successor guardian may be unrelated to the child.

(17) TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS. A severance of all rights of a parent to a child.

(Act 2008-277, p. 441, §16; Act 2010-712, p. 1744, §13; Act 2016-129, §1.)