WA Supreme Court: Must show unfit parent to terminate parental relationship
The first step in a termination is proving six factors by clear and cogent evidence under RCW 13.34.180(1):
(a) That the child has been found to be a dependent child;
(b) That the court has entered a dispositonal order pursuant to RCW 13.34.130;
(c) That the child has been removed or will, at the time of the hearing, have been removed from the custody of the parent for a period of at least six months pursuant to a finding of dependency;
(d) That the services ordered under RCW 13.34.136 have been expressly and understandably offered or provided and all necessary services, reasonably available, capable of correcting the parental deficiencies within the foreseeable future have been expressly and understandably offered or provided;
(e) That there is little likelihood that conditions will be remedied so that the child can be returned to the parent in the future . . . . ; [and]
(f) That the continuation of the parent and child relationship clearly diminishes the child's prospects for early integration in to a stable and permanent home.
So that analysis is step 1. Step 2 involves looking for the best interests of the child from a preponderance. The trial court issued a general finding on RCW 13.34.180(1), and findings in its order that "parroted" the language of sections (d) and (e). Nowhere did it find that Salas, the parent of A.B., was unfit [ed. - which, from the statute, doesn't appear to be a requirement...unless you tie it to (e)...ahhh, nevermind, the unfit parent at the time of the hearing comes from Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 760, 102 S. Ct. 1388, 71 L. Ed. 2d 599 (1982).]
So, given my little editors note above, that alone is reason to reverse. Can't go against a Supreme Court mandate in terms of those parental rights.