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How parental rights can be terminated

The legal parent of a child in Pennsylvania has the right to make decisions for their child. However, those rights may be terminated if a parent breaks the law or otherwise puts his or her child in danger. Furthermore, fathers may lose their rights if they don't establish paternity.

In some cases, parents may lose their rights to a child even if that specific child isn't in immediate or direct danger. This is because parental rights may be terminated if a parent abuses another child in the household. If a child is abandoned, that may be considered abuse and lead to a parent losing his or her parental rights. When parental rights are terminated, the child could be put into foster care.

While it may be necessary to take legal action prior to placing a child in foster care, this isn't always the case. There is no need to file a motion for an abandoned infant or if the child's parents have been convicted of a serious crime. This may also be true if a parent is convicted of a felony resulting in serious bodily injury to a child.

Generally, parents have the right to see or maintain contact with their children. However, if changed circumstances put a child's safety in jeopardy, those rights may be terminated or abridged. A parent who believes that his or her child may be in danger could talk with an attorney. It might be possible to take steps to get an emergency court order that may prevent a child from being around a potentially dangerous adult.

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