Termination of Parental Rights
To terminate parental rights, the Alabama court must have clear and convincing evidence that the child's parents are unable to care for the child properly, that their ability to do so will not improve in the near future, and that they are unwilling or unable to give up their parental responsibilities for that child. If the parents have abandoned their child, the court may consider this as clear and convincing evidence and therefore terminate parental rights. If such abandonment continues for four months or more, this is considered proof that the parents are unable or unwilling to act as parents, and rights can be severed.
Misdemeanor Charges for Abandonment
When a parent, guardian or other person legally responsible to care for a child who is under 18 years of age deserts that child somewhere with intent to abandon that child, that person has committed the crime of abandonment. In Alabama, child abandonment is a Class A misdemeanor.
Safe Haven Law
Alabama has what is called a Safe Haven Law, a law that allows parents to give up custody of their baby with no questions asked. To do this, the parent should bring the baby to an emergency medical facility and give the baby to an emergency medical services provider. The parent does not have to give her name or any other information, as long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse. The baby must be 72 hours old or younger. The EMS provider who received the child should report the incident to the Department of Human Resources by the close of the first business day after the child has been delivered.
- Child image by Serenitie from Fotolia.com