Parental Rights - Free Essay Sample

Published: 2023-12-25
Parental Rights - Free Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Policy United States Parenting Human rights
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 875 words
8 min read


There are different provisions on parental rights reinstatement once a parent and their child had been separated. All the states in the US have rights that allow for the termination of parental rights and separating the parents from their children. However, not all of the states allow for parental rights to be reinstated. In the states that parental rights can be reinstated, the parents need to show exemplary improvement in behavior and the capability to better take care of the children than before. Therefore, this means that the primary requirement for the reinstatement of parental rights is the assurance that the children will not suffer from the reinstatements and that the parents are reformed and will not put the children in any form of harm danger.

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Extreme Cases

Courts allow for the revocation of parental rights in extreme cases. These include instances when there is child neglect or child abuse. Therefore, the courts revoke parental rights as the only option of acting in the child's best interests (O’Donnell, 2010). There are also instances when the parents voluntarily petition the courts to revoke their parental rights due to their inability to provide for the children or incapacitated in different manners from providing for the children's physical and emotional needs. The laws concerning reinstatement of parental rights were formulated in response to the children aging out of foster care systems and needed to reestablish their family ties.

Due to the legal manner in which parental rights reinstatement is handled, the legal requirements vary from state to state, since the states can make their laws regarding parental issues. Some states that allow for the reinstatement of parental rights include California, Illinois, North Carolina, and New York (Taylor, 2009). However, the reinstatement procedures depend on whether the child has been placed under the permanent care of a foster family, in which case the parental rights cannot be reinstated. Suppose the children have not been placed under permanent foster family care. In that case, the parents must file petitions with the courts that initially terminated their parental rights. The courts will determine whether or not they are fit to provide for their children's material and emotional needs and offer them nurturing environments from which they can grow.

Reinstatement of Parental Rights

For the states that allow for reinstatement of parental rights, the courts require clear and compelling evidence that, indeed, the parents are fit to be given back control of their children. There are, however, specifications that vary in the process of parental rights reinstatement and who is eligible for petitioning the courts for the procedures to start (Adams, 2017). For example, Alaska only allows for the reinstatement of parental rights if the parents had relinquished them, but does not allow for the cases where the parents were separated from their children through a court order to be reinstated. Louisiana provides for the children over 15 years petitioning the courts to reinstate their parental rights, while Washington allows either party to petition the courts for the parental rights to be reinstated.

California requires that three years pass after the termination of parental rights for the petitioning of reinstatement to take place. However, if it is determined that the child is not likely to be adopted into a foster family, the period for the reinstatement of parental rights can be reduced for the child's interest. However, for the reinstatement to be allowed, the courts need to establish that the children will be safe and provided when given back to their birth parents (Pressley, 2020). On the other hand, Nevada allows for either the parent or child who has been separated to be reunited. However, the courts require that the children over the age of 14 consent to the reunion with their parents, with those who refuse the reunion being accommodated by the foster care system. However, in the case of children under 14, the courts will have to investigate and assure that the children will be safe and provided for and that the events that led to the separation are not likely to occur again.


On the other hand, New York requires that two years after the termination pass, so that the reunion can be allowed and accommodated once the parents petition the courts. However, the state requires the parents to undergo a unification program which prepares the parents and children to be reunited. This involves counseling for both the parents and the children in preparation for the reunion once the process is complete. The transition is essential since it helps the children and the parents re-acquaint themselves and build a relationship once again. Despite the differences in the laws and provisions, there is a common trend whereby the children's interests are put first and that the possibility of reinstatement depends on the assurance that the children will not suffer from any neglect or abuse from their parents.


Adams, L. T. (2017). Backward Progress Toward Reinstating Parental Rights. NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change, 41, 507.

O'Donnell, R. J. (2010). A second chance for children and families: A model statute to reinstate parental rights after termination. Family court review, 48(2), 362-379.

Pressley, N. (2020). Second Chance Parenting.

Taylor, L. (2009). Resurrecting parents of legal orphans: un-terminating parental rights. Va. J. Soc. Poly & L., 17, 318.

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