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Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)

This is exactly what it sounds like: DCF brings a petition before the court and attempts to demonstrate that the parent’s legal rights should be terminated. If successful, the end result is a court order removing all rights a parent has to their child.

Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Neglect

Most commonly, DCF files a TPR action after a child has been committed under a neglect petition. When a child is committed, a parent has a limited amount of time in which to address the issues which caused the commitment. If DCF believes that the parent has not addressed the issues, they can and often do file a TPR petition with the claim that the parents have failed to “rehabilitate” themselves to such a degree that they can effectively parent the child.

Here is the legal definition: “‘Personal rehabilitation refers to the reasonable foreseeability of the restoration of a parent to his or her former constructive and useful role as a parent, not merely the ability to manage his or her own life.’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) In re Stanley D., 61 Conn. App. 224, 230, 763 A.2d 83 (2000); In re Kristy, 83 Conn. App. 298, 316, 848 A.2d 1276 (2004).

Additional Grounds for TPR Include:

  • Abandonment
  • Abuse (physical, psychological, or sexual)
  • Neglect
  • No ongoing parent-child relationship
  • Parent has killed or committed an assault
  • Parent has been convicted of sexual assault resulting in conception

Letter of the Law:

In any termination of parental rights proceeding, no matter the grounds, there must be clear and convincing evidence:

“The constitutional guarantee of due process of law requires that the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights be established by ‘clear and convincing evidence,’ not merely a fair preponderance of the evidence.” In Re Emmanuel, 43 Conn. Supp. 108, 113, 648 A.2d 904 (1994).

After the Termination of Parental Rights

If after the hearing (or consent to the TPR) the court finds against the parent, the court will enter an order terminating the parent’s rights. In some cases, the parent may be provided a goodbye visit. After the termination of rights, the parent has no legal right to the child. The child is placed for adoption and it is as if the birth parent never had the child.

At times, a parent can negotiate an open adoption agreement with the proposed foster parent. These agreements set out the terms and conditions of what type of contact, if any, the foster parents will allow. Parents do not have a right to an open adoption agreement. These agreements must be negotiated with the foster family prior to the court’s ruling, and are sometimes contingent upon a parent consenting to the termination of their rights.

These are complex legal proceedings and should not be entered into without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Please contact The Law Offices of John J. Ghidini today to discuss your case »