Termination of Parental Rights?
Termination of Parental rights (TPR) is when the parents no longer have any legal rights to the child including parenting or even seeing or speaking to the child, or making any decisions regarding the child. The parent is also no longer financially responsible for the child; any child support required from that parent will officially end on the date of parental termination.
It’s difficult to imagine your child having their parental rights terminated, but if they fail to meet the required court-ordered reunification plan and the child has been in the foster care system for 15 of the last 22 months (state-specific), there is a chance their rights could be permanently terminated.
My Personal Experience with Termination of Parental Rights
This is the one area that I honestly don’t feel justice was served in our case, and I believe the laws regarding parental termination should be looked at closer in some cases.
When my then-husband and I met with our caseworker for the first time and she explained parental termination, I made myself very clear that adopting my grandchildren was not something I was prepared to do. We would only be willing to take guardianship if it got that far, which I was positive would never happen. I believed that my daughter would pull herself back together and eventually would want custody of her children back.
I’m still shocked all these years later that their mother didn’t take this seriously at the time. She made a few appointments with the caseworker, and even went in for meetings a couple of times, but found excuses to leave before drug testing each time, and never met long enough to create a reunification plan. Our caseworker was very aware that I had no desire to adopt and offered my daughter appointments right up until one month prior to the court hearing to terminate.
In August of 2018, we were informed that CPS was filing for TPR and that we would then need to decide if we would be adopting the children or putting them back into the system for adoption by another family. We discussed the guardianship choice with them again but were told there was no longer an option for our case. We would have to either adopt or put them back into the system so they could be adopted by another family.
As far as I am concerned, that is not a choice…
We made the decision to move forward with the adoption because I didn’t want to take the chance that I would have contact with my grandchildren again. It wasn’t an easy decision. The kids had major issues that I didn’t realize would take years to deal with; and to this day, even with all the therapy they have received, we are still dealing with them.
Here is some additional information I found that may interest you regarding the termination of parental rights:
Can parental rights be terminated without consent?
Yes. When CPS removes a child from the care of their parents, they request the local family court to grant them full guardianship of the child. At this time the parent’s rights are still intact, but CPS actually has the primary rights. CPS can make decisions for the child that were previously made only by the parents, including health care issues.
Depending on the CPS worker and the parent’s attempts at improving the situation that created the CPS awareness, the parent’s opinion may be taken into consideration.
At that time, they are required to go in front of the judge periodically to give updates as to the progress the parents are making with their reunification plan. After a certain amount of time, which differs per state, the court can terminate the parental rights if the parents choose to not participate in the reunification plan. This means that the children will be available for adoption, and usually are adopted by the foster family or kinship family.
What are the reasons a parent’s rights can be terminated?
Abandonment by the parents is one of the multiple reasons a judge can terminate parental rights. It is considered parental abandonment if the parents refuse to meet with CPS and participate in the reunification plan. The most common reasons for involuntary termination include: Severe or chronic abuse or neglect. Sexual abuse. Abuse or neglect of children
Can A Parent Get Their Child Back After Parental Rights Are Terminated?
If your children were adopted after your parental rights were terminated, in most states there is not a choice for reinstating parental rights or reversing the adoption, unless there are circumstances such as fraud, duress, coercion, etc.
What happens after TPR hearing?
After the judge has heard from everyone, the judge may decide immediately whether to terminate the parent’s rights. If the judge needs to hear more before deciding on the termination, the judge may set a trial.
In our case, after months of telling me she was going to agree to the termination so we could move forward, my daughter showed up to the hearing high on methamphetamine asking the judge to leave her rights intact. The judge asked her if she had used drugs that day and she answered honestly. The judge said she would take her wishes into consideration, but within 2 weeks we were given the decision that termination had been granted and adoption could move forward.
That was my 50th birthday.
What States Have Reversal Laws
The state I live in isn’t included in this list, therefore my daughter will never be able to regain her rights. This is what I don’t agree with as she is now clean for over a year, has a job making more money than she did prior to getting involved in drugs, and is doing well. If not for the fact that she lives with my mother, who is her enabler, I would consider her completely capable of raising her own children.
When researching this subject, I did come across this site, which lists the stats that have legislation in place for reinstatement of parental rights, 13 of which will allow if permanent placement has not been achieved.
Is there additional information I could have included that would help you? Please let me know in the comments below or by emailing me!