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NCJ Number: 134858 Find in a Library
Title: Incarceration and Termination of Parental Rights
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:12  Dated:(1991)  Pages:70-78
Author(s): G Muhar
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 9
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews several 1990 State appellate court cases in which a person's incarcerated status played a role in the judicial decision on whether to terminate parental rights.
Abstract: In several cases, the courts have considered the parent's incarceration to be an aspect of abandonment. A second area in which incarceration cases arise is that of parental unfitness which, like abandonment, is often grounds for termination actions. A noticeable aspect of recent abandonment cases is the court's greater emphasis on incarceration versus the underlying criminal act. In several cases, the appellate court did not even mention the nature of the crime which resulted in the parent's incarceration. This focus seems reasonable, in that the usual conception of abandonment concerns the physical absence of the parent rather than the reason for absence. Cases in which incarceration indicates unfitness, however, appear to emphasize the underlying criminal act. This also appears logical, in that being unfit usually reflects an aspect of the parent's character. In general, the courts have shown an undertone of hostility toward incarcerated parents and seem unwilling to allow a parent to use the fact of incarceration as an excuse for failure to provide necessary material and emotional support. 45 footnotes
Main Term(s): Children of incarcerated offenders; Parental rights
Index Term(s): Child emotional abuse and neglect; Juvenile dependency and neglect
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