Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Pennsylvania

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 2511(a)

The rights of a parent in regard to a child may be terminated after a petition filed on any of the following grounds:

  • The parent, for at least 6 months, either has evidenced a settled purpose of relinquishing parental claim to a child or has refused or failed to perform parental duties.
  • The repeated and continued incapacity, abuse, neglect, or refusal of the parent has caused the child to be without essential parental care, control, or subsistence necessary for his or her physical or mental well-being, and the conditions and causes of the incapacity, abuse, neglect, or refusal cannot or will not be remedied by the parent.
  • The parent is the presumptive but not the natural father of the child.
  • The child has been found under such circumstances that the identity or whereabouts of the parent is unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent search, and the parent does not claim the child within 3 months after the child is found.
  • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for at least 6 months, the conditions that led to the placement continue to exist, the parent cannot or will not remedy those conditions within a reasonable period of time, the services or assistance reasonably available to the parent are not likely to remedy the conditions that led to the removal or placement of the child within a reasonable period of time, and termination of the parental rights would best serve the needs and welfare of the child.
  • In the case of a newborn child, the parent knows or has reason to know of the child's birth, does not reside with the child, has not married the child's other parent, and has failed for 4 months to make reasonable efforts to maintain substantial and continuing contact or to support the child.
  • The parent is the father of a child conceived as a result of a rape or incest.
  • The child has been removed from the care of the parent, 12 months or more have elapsed from the date of removal, the conditions that led to the removal continue to exist, and termination of parental rights would best serve the needs and welfare of the child.
  • The parent has been convicted of one of the following in which the victim was a child of the parent:
    • Criminal homicide
    • Aggravated assault
    • An attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit an offense listed above
  • The parent has committed sexual abuse against the child or another child of the parent when the judicial adjudication is based on a finding of 'sexual abuse or exploitation' as defined in § 6303(a).
  • The parent is required to register as a sexual offender.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 2511(b)

The rights of a parent shall not be terminated solely on the basis of environmental factors such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing, and medical care, if found to be beyond the control of the parent.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.