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cotugman

Termination of parental rights - legal?

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I hope I am posting this situation under the correct category, or if I am not that I will be directed to the proper one.

 

A few years ago my sister's two children were visiting their father for the weekend and CPS was called which ended in the children being removed from the father's home due to a harmful living environment. CPS were going to return the children to my sister, their mother, but could not do so because she was staying at my older sister's house and her husband (our brother-in-law) had an old felony, so they could not let the children stay with her there. Since that was the only living situation she had at the moment, CPS offered to take them into temporary custody and place them in a temporary foster care agency until she provided a stable living environment that met CPS criteria. My sister agreed to this for the good of her children.

 

The CPS case was soon closed - as she was not found at fault for anything - and the father voluntarily gave up his rights. After the CPS case was closed, the foster care agency took over and assigned my sister a case worker. The case worker was supposed to work with my sister and provide referral services to help her, and they did not do those things. My sister had stable living conditions, but the foster care agency did not give her children back, instead they told her she couldn't have them back and that she needed parenting classes, drug tests, and psych evaluations. My sister did all parenting classes, passed numerous drug tests, and was cleared on all psych evaluations. They still would not give the children back, claiming she did not meet CPS requirements, which at the time she had believed them and continued to work hard to meet their standards, but in fact she did meet the CPS criteria to have her children returned. Now the foster care agency is keeping information from her, and giving her false information. They split her kids up into two separate foster care homes.

 

My sister was soon served with papers to have her parental rights terminated so the foster family of her youngest son could adopt him, but the papers were served to her the day before the hearing, which she contested, but her papers "were not received" and since they "didn't receive" an answer, they automatically terminated her rights and adopted him out. The foster care agency is only supposed to start the adoption process once a judge has ruled that family unification is impossible, however no such ruling was ever made. Now they are trying to do the same thing with her second son, they are pushing for her to sign her rights over, which she won't do, and they are taking her to court in order to terminate her rights so he can be adopted out to a separate family. My question is: Is what this foster care agency doing legal? Can she sue them? I know she is trying to find a lawyer at this point and time, but hasn't found one yet and so has not gotten legal advice on what all she can do to stop this from happening. She has a stable living environment, she has a daughter that goes to daycare and is doing remarkable, and she is currently trying to go to school to become a CNA.

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The timeline is fuzzy as are the details as to why the children were placed in foster care to begin with. You also do not mention the state or why one child is still with her while the siblings are in foster care. I have a feeling you are missing huge pieces of this story as termination of parental rights and adoption by a foster family are far more complicated than you describe.

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