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Termination of Parental Rights: What is it, and can it be reversed?

Termination of parental rights is a court order that permanently ends the legal parent-child relationship when the parent is found to be unfit. Termination of parental rights is not granted by the courts for parents who mutually agree to terminate their rights to resolve visitation or support issues. When a parents rights are terminated, they can no longer make decisions for the child. When determining if a parents rights should be terminated, most states require the court to show with clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit, and that severing the parent-child relationship is in the child’s best interests. To qualify for termination of parental rights, it has to be determined that the child cannot safely return home because  of risk of harm by the parent. Though each state determines their own statutory grounds, there are a few common scenarios that may determine parental unfitness, including: Failure to support and maintain contact with the child Severe and ongoing abuse or neglect Physical or sexual abuse of the child Abuse or neglect of other children in the household Child abandonment Long-term mental illness of the parents Long-term substance abuse by the parent Involuntary termination of rights of the parent to another child Other various circumstances In California, parental rights can also be terminated if the whereabouts of the parent have been unknown for 6 months, the parent has not visited or attempted to contact the child is 6 months, the parent has been convicted of a felony indicating parental unfitness, or the court has continued to remove the child from the custody of the parent or guardian and...