Definitions for "Termination of Parental Rights"
Sometimes referred to as relinquishment of parental rights; the court-ordered end of a parent/child relationship, often as a prelude to an adoption and sometimes ending the obligation of the non-custodial parent to pay child Support. Termination is different than relinquishment; termination is involuntary, relinquishment is voluntary.
A judicial proceeding freeing a child from all custody and control by a parent so that others may adopt the child. A judge determines that a parent has failed to provide a safe home and that the parent has not substantially complied with the case plan in the time allotted by law. A parent my surrender parental rights voluntarily or a judge may revoke them in a judicial procedure. Federal law requires states to initiate TPR proceedings for children who have been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, infants determined to be abandoned, or cases in which a parent has killed another of his/her children, or certain other egregious situations. States may opt not to initiate TPR if the child is in a relative's care, the child welfare agency has documented a compelling reason that TPR would not be in the child's best interest, or the state has not provided necessary services to the family.
A process involving a court hearing whereby a judge enters a decree permanently ending all legal parental rights of a birth parent to a child. This must occur before a child is considered to be "legally free" for adoption. In PA, there is a 30-day appeal process after this hearing takes place. This can be voluntary or involuntary.