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Termination Consequences: Is She Still My Sister

When a parent loses his or her rights to a child through a Child Protective Service court proceeding (CPS), there are many consequences beyond the terminated rights of custody for that parent. The court ordered termination affects other individuals who may have had relationships with the child. For example, the child will no longer have a legal connection to any biological grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, or others. She will no longer be able to inherit or to pass property through heirship proceedings. The child would be treated as if she were never born to that biological family because the child would no longer legally be a part of the family – a legal orphan.

Although a parent may be embarrassed that his or her parental rights were terminated, it is important that the parent quickly notify other family members with whom the child has a relationship. After the parent’s rights are terminated, certain adult family members only have 90 days to ask the court to provide them with a managing conservatorship role or some form of relative contact. Better, parents should contact family members as soon as CPS becomes involved. If qualified, other family members may take in the child instead of foreign placement in foster homes or group houses. Whenever CPS is