Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Personal Rehabilitation Definition:

(USA-family law) The restoration of a parent to a formerly held constructive and useful role as a parent within a reasonable time.

Before the Appellate Court of Connecticut was the sad case of In re Janazia. Janazia was a child botn to a 14-year old mother; the father being 25.

Because of the sexual intercourse, the father was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to serve seven years in prison.

Janazia remained with her mother until June, 2002, when police entered her residence and found the infant alone and the apartment in a deplorable condition. In and out of prison, the father exercised sporadic access to his daughter, while the young mother began her own criminal record, including possession and use of marijuana and other controlled substances. The child protection agency moved to sever all contact between Janazia and her parents.

Justice McLachlin:

"Personal rehabilitation as used in the statute refers to the restoration of a parent to his or her former constructive and useful role as a parent....

"In conducting this inquiry, the trial court must analyze the respondent's rehabilitative status as it relates to the needs of the particular child. The trial court must also determine whether the prospects for rehabilitation can be realized within a reasonable time given the age and needs of the child. What constitutes a reasonable time is a factual determination that must be made on a case-by-case basis....

"Although the standard is not full rehabilitation, the parent must show more than any rehabilitation... In assessing rehabilitation, the critical issue is not whether the parent has improved her ability to manage her own life, but rather whether she has gained the ability to care for the particular needs of the child at issue. Thus, even if a parent has made successful strides in her ability to manage her life and may have achieved a level of stability within her limitations, such improvements, although commendable, are not dispositive on the issue of whether, within a reasonable period of time, she could assume a responsible position in the life of her children."

The mother argued that she had achived personal rehabilitation but the Court disagreed and confirmed the lower court's ruling, that: "Janazia's best interest would be best served by terminating the ... parental rights".


  • In re Janazia S., 961 A. 2d 1036 (2009)
  • In re Joseph L., 939 A. 2d 16 (2008)

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