Checklist: Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights

For a parent, termination of parental rights is very frightening and something which they wouldn’t want to hear. However the law has provisions for termination of parental rights to protect children in need. In some cases, parental rights must be terminated before the child can be adopted. The grounds for termination of parental rights vary by state. Here are some of the common grounds:

• Child being sexually abused by the parent

• Chronic or severe neglect or abuse of the child

• Extreme parental disinterest or abandonment of the child

• The parent suffering from a long term mental illness

• Incapacity of the parent due to long term drug or alcohol use

• Not supporting the child

• Not providing education to the child

• Not maintaining any contact with the child

• Conviction for felony or violent crime against another family member or child

• Conviction for a felony offense resulting in long term imprisonment that can affect the child and the only alternative is foster care

• Disobeying or not complying with a court-ordered plan

• Child is in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months

• Not making reasonable efforts to reunite the family or rehabilitate the other parent

• The child is at risk at home

• The child is likely to be subject to substantial risk

• The child is induced to commit crimes

• Non-custodial parents withholds consent unreasonably

• Child is subject to severe emotional trauma by the parent

• The child’s need for continuity and care

• The identity or location of the parent is not known

• The child was born out of incest or rape

• The father is not the biological father

• Giving birth to 3 or more infants who are drug-affected

• A newborn child is alcohol or drug-addicted

• The parent’s conduct is abhorrent or heinous or egregious

• The child has a healthy and strong relationship with the foster family

• Child’s preference

• Voluntary termination by the parent

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