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Senate Discusses Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Jackson, Miss– If a child is in an abusive or neglectful situation, that child may be taken away from the parents or guardian and put in a safer, more stable situation. 

In extreme cases–abuse, torture, denying lifesaving medical care– it seems obvious that if proven guilty, a parent would lose that child.

But in many cases, the question whether or not to terminate can be a hard one to answer. For example, if a father never sees the child because he works offshore or in another country. The father may pay child support, but not see or talk to his child often. Should the father then lose custody?

Senator Sean Tindell says this bill could establish clearer lines of not just losing parental rights, but reuniting a child back with the parent after displacement, if it is healthy to do so.

“We’re talking about parental rights,” says Sen. Tindell, “but we also need to be talking about the rights of those children. We have a lot of children who grow up in abusive or neglectful households, and we wonder why we continue to be at the bottom.”

The bill would also establish the proper protocol of hearings regarding termination of rights, including whether or not the child–or parent in question–has to be in attendance for a ruling to take place.

Section 13 of H.B. 1240 states the reasons why termination may not occur based on the judgement of the court. If a judge has reason to believe that a parent can be rehabilitated and the child can be put back in that parent’s care, then he or she can choose not to terminate and establish a plan for repairing the relationship.

Here is the bill for more information:

http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2016/pdf/sam/HB1240_S_Cmte_Amend_01.pdf

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