Sunday, July 17, 2016

Grandparents in Rhode Island cannot terminate their children's parental rights to adopt their grandchildren

Since a child is supposed to have no more than two parents under current law, termination of parental rights of birth parents is a necessary prerequisite for adoption by adoptive parents.  Termination happens in two ways -- either voluntarily, by consent of the birth parents, or involuntarily, because of misconduct by the birth parents. Involuntary termination is ordinarily the province of the State, not private parties. In Rhode Island, a bill was proposed to allow custodial grandparents to involuntarily terminate the rights of a child's parents so that they could adopt. That bill has been vetoed by the governor, according to

Rhode Island’s governor has vetoed a bill that would have allowed grandparents who have custody of a child to petition to terminate the rights of a parent without that person’s consent.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo vetoed the legislation Thursday.

The bill, introduced by Providence Democratic Rep. Anastasia Williams, was designed to make it easier for grandparents to adopt. But Raimondo says the last-minute amendment allowing for the petitions would have undermined the rights of natural parents.

Under current law, only the state can petition to terminate parental rights.

Raimondo says the Rhode Island Family Court and the Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families were among several groups expressing concerns about the bill and asking for a veto.

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