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KWIC Indicator Narrative

Foster Care - Terminated Parental Rights Judgments

Data Provider: NYS Office of Court Administration

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Related Indicators:

  • Foster Care TPR Judgments-Dismissed or Withdrawn [view data]
  • Foster Care TPR Judgments-Other Judgments [view data]
  • Foster Care TPR Judgments-Suspended Judgments [view data]
  • Foster Care TPR Judgments-Terminated Judgments [view data]

Life Area:

Family

Definition:

The termination of parental rights (TPR) involves the ending of the legal parent-child relationship. Once the relationship has been terminated, the child is then legally free to be placed for adoption with the goal of securing a stable, permanent family environment that can meet the child's long-term parenting needs. According to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, states are required to initiate hearings to terminate the rights of parents if a child has been in foster care for 15 of the past 22 months, unless compelling circumstances exist. There are four possible outcomes of TPR hearings: granted, dismissed or withdrawn, suspended for up to one year, or in a relatively few cases an 'other' outcome might apply.

The proportion for each of these outcomes is calculated by dividing the number of respective judgments in a calendar year by the total number of completed TPR judgments considered by the court during that year.

Significance:

Family ties are an important part of a child’s identity. A termination of parental rights is a grave, but sometimes necessary, decision based upon the high standard of "clear and convincing evidence" that the child has been abandoned, permanently neglected, severely or repeatedly abused, or due to a finding of parental mental incapacity.

When reunification with parents is not possible, this freeing action allows the child to gain a permanent home and new family ties through adoption. Compared to the overall population of children in foster care, a termination of parental rights action is brought in fewer than 15 percent of the children in foster care at any one time, and granted in only about three out of five cases.

Note:

The decision to file a termination of parental rights (TPR) petition is evaluated on a child-specific basis and is made in accordance with a child’s best interests.

The drop in suspended judgments from 2005 to 2006 can be potentially explained as an after-effect of the early 2006 Nixzmary Brown case in NYC which prompted the tightening of child welfare practices.

Findings:

In 2010, TPR proceedings in New York City were more likely to result in a termination of parental rights compared to proceedings in the Rest of the State (57.7% vs. 41.7%, respectively). Approximately one of every three TPR proceedings in New York State (37.3%) were dismissed or withdrawn in 2010. The proportion dismissed or withdrawn in New York City (39.9%) was lower than in the Rest of the State (44.8%). In 2010, relatively few TPR proceedings in New York State resulted in the outcome of a suspended judgment (7.9%), virtually unchanged from 8.3% in 2005.

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