1. Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption: Where does the GAL fit in? The most important steps to know in the TPR process and how the GAL plays a role
2. Termination of Parental Rights An example?
In order to be freed for adoption, a child’s legal relation to the biological parent must be severed
3. TPR as the Permanency Plan About 32 % of our cases go through TPR
Usually not ordered when family members are placement
Most permanent plan
Takes the longest to achieve
4. Opening a TPR File New timeline starts- Ideal intervals, not always actual
DSS files a petition- what is alleged?
GAL has to be reappointed….new appointment order!
GAL served with petition for program and child
Date set for pre-trial
5. Timelines: JA vs. JT
6. Pre-Trial Hearings Usually held well in advance of TPR
Address issues of jurisdiction and service- you will be served!
Appoint attorneys for parents
GAL is not required to be there, no report
Set a day for TPR hearing
7. Preparing for a TPR Hearing Interviews
The child’s understanding of adoption?
In the child’s best interest?
Do they want to be adopted?
Do they understand what adoption means?
8. TPR Hearing- Important to Remember GAL needs to be at the hearing
GAL will likely testify
Court is only addressing one issue: TPR
Hearing could have several witnesses; be more than one day
Child may want to be present
Documents from professionals are important
Pictures are fine to present to court
9. TPR Hearing: Two Parts Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination
Mental illness or deficiency leading to incapacity
Failure of reasonable efforts
Loss of rights of another child
Failure to provide monetary support
Failure to establish paternity
Child in care 12 of 22 months
Felony assault of child or sibling Murder/Manslaughter of sibling child Circumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination
Failure to maintain contact
10. TPR Hearings: Two Parts Part Two- Best Interest of the Child
Age of the child
Likelihood of adoption
TPR will assist the permanent plan because
The bond between the child and the parent can be characterized as follows
The bond between the child and the current caretaker can be characterized as follows
Other relevant considerations
12. The Appeal Process Parents have a limited time to appeal- 30 days
Appeals process has 180 day timeline
Can potentially be appealed to the NC Supreme Court
13. Post-TPR: What Happens Now? Recruit for adoptive family if needed
We’ll get notice of filing and approval
Clerk of Court approves adoptions
Keep in touch with SW or adoptive family!
14. Important for the GAL to Consider Child’s approval
TPR into legal limbo
Foster parents’ abilities
15. What Ifs…. The child says….
Do I have to change my name?
I don’t want to be adopted
Will I ever see my mom again?
Will I ever see my grandparents again?
The foster parents say…
Am I going to get money when I adopt?
I don’t really think we can adopt her
What if this doesn’t work out when she’s older?
Should we keep in contact with the birth parents?
16. Wrap Up Make sure you understand the TPR process
Make sure the child understands
Consider other permanency options
Consider all information before recommendation of change in plan
Help others understand the process
17. Questions and Comments