6, No. 1
Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of parental rights
(TPR) is one of the most difficult elements of child welfare. Though
most families involved with our system never reach the point where
someone petitions a court to terminate parents’ rights, TPR is there.
It does happen.
When social workers and others
concerned with the welfare of children do seek TPR, they do so out
of necessity: sometimes TPR is a child’s only chance of growing
up in a safe, loving, permanent home.
Yet social workers also find
TPR to be a source of ambivalence and personal pain. Though they
may recognize that seeking TPR is in the long-term best interests
of a child, they also grieve when TPR occurs—for the pain that TPR
inevitably causes the child, and for that part of the birth parent
that loves the child and wants to be a good parent.
Because TPR is so serious and
final, it is essential that child welfare workers understand when
termination should be pursued, how the TPR process works, and how
to minimize emotional trauma to everyone involved. This issue of
Practice Notes attempts to provide a framework so you can
begin exploring the issues relevant to TPR.