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Vol. 6, No. 1
February 2001

Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights (TPR) is one of the most difficult elements of child welfare. Though most families involved with our system never reach the point where someone petitions a court to terminate parents’ rights, TPR is there. It does happen.

When social workers and others concerned with the welfare of children do seek TPR, they do so out of necessity: sometimes TPR is a child’s only chance of growing up in a safe, loving, permanent home.

Yet social workers also find TPR to be a source of ambivalence and personal pain. Though they may recognize that seeking TPR is in the long-term best interests of a child, they also grieve when TPR occurs—for the pain that TPR inevitably causes the child, and for that part of the birth parent that loves the child and wants to be a good parent.

Because TPR is so serious and final, it is essential that child welfare workers understand when termination should be pursued, how the TPR process works, and how to minimize emotional trauma to everyone involved. This issue of Practice Notes attempts to provide a framework so you can begin exploring the issues relevant to TPR.


Talking to Parents About TPR

Advice About TPR

Termination of Parental Rights: Legal Issues

Best Interest and TPR

Grounds for TPR in North Carolina

The Link Between Adoption and Successful TPR

Consequences of TPR for Children

New TPR Resource

Click here to read or print the entire issue as a pdf file.

For additional resources and information, please visit the following web sites:

  • North Carolina CPS Data Card (2004) by the NC Child Advocacy Institute. Information in the Excel spreadsheet that accompanies this document states that 83.8 out of every 100,000 children in North Carolina have the rights of their parents terminated by a court (TPR). The Excel spreadsheet includes the rates of TPR for specific North Carolina counties. <>

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