Jennifer Ayres Hand


Preventing Undue Terminations: A Critical Evaluation of the Length-of-Time-out-of-Custody Ground for Termination of Parental Rights

Jennifer Ayres Hand

The American legal system views the relationship between parent and child as sacrosanct, only to be severed through a knowing, voluntary relinquishment by the parent or through a formal court proceeding known as a termination of parental rights (TPR). Termination of parental rights fundamentally affects the relationship between parent and child. For the parent, termination means the irretrievable loss of “the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children.”‘ For the child, termination raises the specter of total loss of the parent as well as loss of “‘the right of support… ; the right to inherit; and all other rights inherent in the legal parent-child relationship, not just for [a limited] period…, but forever.”‘