Terminating Parental Rights in Rhode Island

Terminating Parental Rights in Rhode Island

A parent’s parental rights are inherent but can be terminated where proper. Termination of parental rights (“TPR”) ends the legal parent-child relationship. Once the relationship has been terminated, the parent has no rights and the child is legally free to be placed.

There are two types of TPR: Voluntary and Involuntary.

Voluntary TPR

A parent may voluntarily relinquish his or her parental rights to allow for adoption of the minor child by qualified adoptive parents. Oftentimes parents must undergo an evaluation and counseling to make sure his or her decision is voluntary.

Involuntary TPR

A parent’s rights may be involuntarily terminated if it is in the best interests of the child and reunification is not possible. Circumstances generally include:

DCYF may intervene and petition for TPR. Upon the filing of a termination of parental rights petition, DCYF owes a duty to recruit, process and approve a qualified family for adoption or other permanent living arrangement for the child.

A parent may not terminate the parental rights of another parent without a coinciding adoption. The adoptive parent must be a grandparent of the child or a spouse of the parent requesting the termination and the child must be living with the parent and grandparent or spouse at the time the petition is filed.

If the absent parent objects to the termination, there will be a hearing to determine by “clear and convincing evidence” whether termination of the absent parent is proper pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws § 15-7-7. Some instances include: