Termination of Parental Rights
Authored By: North Mississippi Rural Legal Services
Under certain circumstances parental rights can be terminated. This is ordinarily initiated by the state in instances of alleged abuse, neglect, or abandonment of the minor child. The legal effect of termination of parental rights is to end all rights to visitation or input in decisions regarding the child.
When a child has been removed from the home of its natural parents, cannot be safely returned to them within a reasonable length, and there is a determination, adoption would be in the best interest of the child and action to terminate parental rights may be filed.
Desertion of a child under 3 years of age for 6 months, desertion of a child older than 3 years for 1 year, proof of a series of abusive incidents involving one or more child, the child has been in the care and custody of a licensed child care agency which has attempted to implement a plan of return and the parent has failed to exercise reasonable visitation or implement the plan. Additionally, termination of parental rights may be initiated because of ongoing behavior making it impossible to return the child or because of a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time such as alcohol or drug addiction, severe mental or mental deficiencies or extreme physical incapacities rending the parent unable to assume minimally acceptable care of the child. They must also prove the child has developed a deep-seated antipathy toward the parent resulting in substantial erosion of the parent-child relationship. Additionally, one must prove a parent has been convicted of certain offenses against the child.
If there are relatives willing and able to assume responsibility for the child, the child will probably be placed with the relative. Additionally, the age of the child, and if 14 years of age or older, whether or not he will agree to an adoption.
The child will be made available for adoption.