Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

• No statutes or acts will be found at this website.

The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 7348 (November 26, 2022).

231 Pa. Code Rule 15.10. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights.

Rule 15.10. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights.

 (a)  Petition. A petition for involuntary termination of parental rights under 23 Pa.C.S. § §  2511-2512 shall contain the following averments:

   (1)  the name and address of the petitioner(s);

   (2)  the basis for the standing asserted by the petitioner(s);

   (3)  the name, age, date of birth, place of birth, racial background, and gender of the child;

   (4)  the name, address, age, and racial background of the birth parents, including the birth father, presumptive father, and putative father;

   (5)  if a birth father, presumptive father or putative father is not identified in subparagraph, whether a claim for paternity has been filed under 23 Pa.C.S. §  5103 (relating to claim of paternity);

   (6)  the marital status of the mother as of the time of the child’s birth and during one year prior thereto, and her maiden name;

   (7)  the date when the child was placed in the care of the petitioner;

   (8)  the date when the child was removed from the parent who is the subject of the petition, if different than the date of placement with the petitioner;

   (9)  specific facts setting forth why the child was voluntarily placed in the custody of an entity or individual or involuntarily removed from the parent who is the subject of the petition;

   (10)  a reference to the applicable subsection(s) of 23 Pa.C.S. §  2511(a) providing the ground(s) for termination and specific facts to support terminating the parental rights of the subject birth parent pursuant to the subsection(s) referenced;

   (11)  whether either parent of the child is entitled to benefits under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 1940, as amended (50 U.S.C. § §  3901 et seq.);

   (12)  one of the following:

     (A)   that the parent who is the subject of the petition has been provided with written notice regarding the opportunity for a birth relative of the child, including the subject birth parent, to enter into a Contact Agreement with the Prospective Adoptive Parents, once identified;

     (B)   that such written notice will be given to the subject birth parent prior to the hearing by the agency, intermediary or counsel representing a party; or

     (C)   the reason(s) why such notice cannot be given, including efforts made to identify or locate the subject person.

   (13)  whether a consent by the petitioner, the Prospective Adoptive Parents, or the agency to accept custody of the child until such time as the child is adopted is attached to the petition, and if custody is to an individual, whether a Report of Intention to Adopt under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2531 or an adoption petition under Rule 15.13 has been filed or the reason why such consent or filing is not required by law; and

   (14)  that each petitioner understands the petition and believes its filing to best serve the developmental, physical and emotional needs and welfare of the child.

 (b)  Exhibits. The following exhibits shall be attached to the petition:

   (1)  A verified statement from a representative of the agency or intermediary, counsel for the agency or intermediary, or counsel representing any other party that written notice was provided to the subject birth parent regarding the opportunity of a birth relative to enter into a Contact Agreement, that such notice was provided by hand delivery, by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address, or by such other means as provided in Rule 15.4(b)(3)(A)(iii), and the date(s) that such notice was given, or the reason(s) why such notice cannot be given, including efforts made to identify or locate the subject person. If notice was given, a copy of the notice shall accompany this verified statement.

   (2)  Except as otherwise provided by law, the signed consent of the petitioner, the Prospective Adoptive Parents, or the agency to accept custody of the child until such time as the adoption is completed.

 (c)  Hearing and Decree.

   (1)  Notice of the hearing on the petition shall be provided and served in accordance with 23 Pa.C.S. §  2513(b) and Rule 15.4(b)(3).

   (2)  On or before the hearing, the court shall be presented with a certificate of service stating that notice of the hearing on the petition was given to the petitioner and all others entitled to a copy of the notice in accordance with 23 Pa.C.S. §  2503 and Rule 15.4(b)(3).

   (3)  If notice of the opportunity to enter into a Contact Agreement was not provided to the subject birth parent prior to the petition’s filing, then on or before the hearing, the court shall be presented with a verified statement from a representative of the agency or intermediary, counsel for the agency or intermediary, or counsel representing any other party that written notice was provided to the subject birth parent regarding the opportunity of a birth relative to enter into a Contact Agreement, that such notice was provided by hand delivery, by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address, or by such other means as provided in Rule 15.4(b)(3)(A)(iii), and the date(s) that such notice was given or the reason(s) why such notice cannot be given, including efforts made to identify or locate the subject person. If notice was given, a copy of the notice shall accompany this verified statement.

 (d)  Appointment of Counsel.

   (1)  Child. In accordance with 23 Pa.C.S. §  2313(a), the court shall appoint counsel to represent the child in an involuntary termination proceeding when the proceeding is contested by one or both parents. If the court determines that the child requires counsel to represent both the best interests and legal interests of the child, the court shall determine on the record whether counsel can represent both interests without conflict before appointing an individual to serve as both guardian ad litem and counsel for the child.

   (2)  Parent. In accordance with 23 Pa.C.S. §  2313(a.1), the court shall appoint counsel for a parent whose rights are subject to termination in an involuntary termination proceeding if, upon petition of the parent, the court determines that the parent is unable to pay for counsel or that payment would result in a substantial financial hardship.

Explanatory Comment

   An original birth certificate or certification of registration of the child’s birth must be filed with the clerk by the time of filing the initial petition to terminate parental rights. See Rule 15.3(b).

   If the petitioner is an agency, Prospective Adoptive Parents need not have been identified prior to the agency’s filing of a petition to involuntarily terminate parental rights. Also, an averment of a present intent to adopt the child is not required if the petitioner is an agency. Where petitioner is an individual, see Rule 15.6. Neither the averments nor evidence set forth in subdivisions (a)(13) and (b)(2) are required when the petition has been filed by a parent seeking to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of the other parent pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §  2511(a)(7) (relating to a child conceived as a result of a rape or incest). See 23 Pa.C.S. §  2514.

   Section 2733(c) of the Adoption Act requires the agency or intermediary, counsel representing the agency or intermediary, or counsel representing any other party to provide notice to the Prospective Adoptive Parents, birth parents, and, in some instances, a child of the opportunity to enter into a Contact Agreement. The statute does not require notice to birth relatives who are not the birth parents, although birth relatives may enter into and become parties to a Contact Agreement.

   It is understood that County Agencies may be encouraged early in the process, even during dependency proceedings, to give notice to a birth parent of the opportunity to enter into a Contact Agreement. Requiring the verified statement to set forth the specific date(s) as to when notice was given is only to further ensure that the particular notice was given and not to suggest that providing this notice is time sensitive and expires after a certain time.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 15.10 added July 22, 2021, effective July 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 4267.



No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.


This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Code full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.