This article considers the independent liberty interests of children in foster care and their mothers in parental termination proceedings. Federal reforms enacted in 1997 impose a mandatory deadline for the state to terminate parental rights. That policy erroneously presumes that the passage of time suffices to establish parental fault and satisfies a parent's due process rights to her child. The policy also fails to protect the minority of children in foster care who assert an interest in preserving a safe relationship with mothers who are unlikely to regain custody within the state's time frame - including many substance abusers, incarcerated parents and victims of domestic violence.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 201; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 201
Catherine J. Ross, A Delicate Task: Balancing the Rights of Children and Mothers in Parental Termination Proceedings in STUDIES IN LAW, POLITICS AND SOCIETY (Austin Sarat and Patricia Ewick, eds., Elsevier, 2004).