Upon the termination of their parents’ parental rights, many foster children are left without any positive, ongoing relationship with an adult. Some foster children will move from one placement to another and will ultimately age-out of foster care without having been adopted. In light of this reality, courts are beginning to recognize the value of post-termination contact for children with little hope of adoption and strong emotional bonds to their birth parents. Post-termination contact allows children to retain their social relationship with terminated birth parents when birth parents are unable to care for their children but still play a positive role in their children’s lives. Post-termination contact may soften the effect of children’s loss of their parents, provide children with unique racial, ethnic, or religious experiences, and may encourage birth parents to voluntarily relinquish their rights in appropriate circumstances. This Note explores the legal framework that courts have employed to order post-termination contact. Generally, courts have either granted post-termination contact as a right of the child or as a right of the birth parent. Some jurisdictions recognize post-termination contact by judicial decision based upon broad statutes authorizing courts to make orders in the best interests of adjudicated children. In other jurisdictions, legislatures have enacted statutes explicitly creating a right to petition the court for post-termination contact. This Note offers a model statute that brings together the most successful pieces from current post-termination statutes, judicial decisions, and other model statutes.
Williams, Alexis T., "Rethinking Social Severance: Post-Termination Contact between Birth Parents and Children Note" (2008). Connecticut Law Review. 13.