An important step in preparing a child for adoption is the final post-termination of parental rights (TPR) “goodbye” visit with birth parents. In some cases, this will be the last face to face contact the child will have with the birth parents. In other cases, the child may continue to have contact with birth family members even after adoption. In either circumstance, the goodbye visit represents a significant change in the child’s life and relationship with the birth parents. It is important that this visit is planned with the support and cooperation of the worker, significant birth family members, foster or adoptive parents and mental health professionals involved with the child and family.
- Schedules a goodbye visit at the conclusion of the thirty (30) day period following the TPR judgment, if no appeal has been filed;
- Conducts face to face visits with the birth parents and the child, separately, to discuss and prepare for the final visit prior to the goodbye visit;
- Notifies mental health professionals providing services to the child of the date for the final visit;
- Schedules an appointment with the child’s therapist following the goodbye visit to allow the child the opportunity to process the event, whenever possible;
- Attempts to obtain a letter or other message that may be given to the child, if the parent is unable or unwilling to attend the final visit;
- Submits a memo requesting an exception to the SRA or designee, and provides justification such as a statement from the child’s therapist, when applicable, if such a visit would not be in the child’s best interest;
- Schedules a goodbye visit with extended family members or other significant people in the child’s life if the whereabouts of the parents are unknown at the time of TPR whenever possible;
- Consults with the FSOS, and possibly with the child’s therapist, to determine whether a visit should be scheduled if the absent parents request a visit at a later time for a child who has not yet been adopted; 1
- Provides a memo requesting approval to the SRA or designee if recommendation is made for the delayed final visit.
- During the thirty (30) day period following a TPR judgment when the parents may file an appeal, the Cabinet may continue regular visitation between the child and birth family. Should an appeal be filed, procedures are followed in SOP 11.38 Services to the Family During an Appeal. If an appeal has been filed, the final visit should not be scheduled until the decision of the Circuit court has been upheld and there is a final order terminating parental rights.
- If approved, the SSW follows procedures one (1) through three (3) of this SOP.
- If the child’s adoption has been finalized, a goodbye visit is at the discretion of the adoptive parents.