We are set to have our first TPR hearing for Doodle Bug's biomom tomorrow. She basically hasn't done anything on her plan. But, I am still really nervous because I don't know what to expect, and I don't do well when I feel unprepared. For those of you that have gone to a TPR hearing, can you please tell me what to expect?
We haven't been prepped at all. Up until the end of last week we weren't even sure if the court was going to happen because most of the attorneys were on vaca last week. I am just hoping that it actually takes place and it isn't continued for later.
Neither we nor our children were prepped for the trial. They had to sit through a very detailed reading of the abuse and circumstances of them coming into care. Some of it was very adult and the children (10,12, 16) did not need to hear it. The birth parents did not show up for the trial, so the evidence included the efforts cps made, and the parents lack of effort. The 16yo had to testify; he was very confused and angry that they made him talk "bad" about his mom. The judge gave his decision about a week later and then we had to wait a month for the appeal period to pass. Birth parents did not appeal. We then had to wait another year and a half to finalize our adoption (due to caseworker incompetence and financial issues with the county).
Oh goodness gracious! Luckily our lil one is only 23 mo so she will not be there. After we finish with mom we still have Dad and there is just no telling how long this will all take. It seems so backwards that they talk about permanency so much yet from what I have seen with it taking so long to do anything permanency seems like such a foreign concept to me right now.
Thanks for all the input on your experiences. Our foster son's parents' TPR trial is this month. Though it's obvious to me that TPR should happen, I'm not sure that everyone else involved sees it the same way. I understand this particular judge always decides on the same day -- so at least it won't drag on (I hope).
Our TPR hearing is coming up mid Feb. From what the CW tells us, the judge is not allowed to give a verbal decision and it usually takes a few weeks to get the written one.
We haven't been prepped at all yet. We haven't ever attended a court date for Curly. There has only been one since she has been in our home and we were unable to go. So unlike Curly's case where we knew EVERYONE, we have never met the law guardian, the DAG, the judge or either parents lawyers. We have met mom, once very briefly, but the TPR wil only be our second time seeing her.
We have NO idea how her case is going to go. I can only hope and pray this little princess gets permanency soon. With appeals and all the time they take, that isn't likely.
Good luck with your hearing!
I want to wish everyone good luck with their TPR hearings. I am scheduled to have them Jan 10 & 11th and Feb 1 & 2nd. Fingers are crossed that they actually happen (there's a last minute wrinkle with a relative trying to take one of the kiddos out of my home).
In our case they did TPR by show of proof. This means that the county stands up and gives a run down of this is what has happened and why TPR should be granted. The respondent parent stands up and says this is why it shouldn't. In the 9 (including ours) that I watched the day our Birth Mom was TPR'd the judge ruled every time right away.
Trials and hearings are more involved and sometimes the FPs have to speak. So that is usually why there is prepping done. In our case, we sat all day (8am to 3pm) and the "hearing" took less than 10 minutes. Birth Mom didn't show up, so basically all that happened was the county listed the reasons why she should be TPR'd, her attorney stood up and said "no objections." And it was done.
our judge didn't even recess before he made his decision. it was a very clear case
This was our situation also.
For OP - a couple blog posts if you're interested:
[url=http://edufunmom.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/absolutely-exhausting-day/]Absolutely Exhausting Day Mama'ing Again[/url]
and
[url=http://edufunmom.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/dont-mess-with-mama/]Don’t mess with Mama ˫ Mama'ing Again[/url]
I'm not sure if my experiences helps or not...but I will share it....
With our first case, the parents had not been doing anything on their case plan except visits. We had a TPR hearing scheduled for two days after they were placed with us (that was in January). Then, the case was continued two weeks, and another two weeks, and this went on for a very long time. The TPR hearing was FINALLY heard in November, after eleven months of continuances. At that point, the judge said too much time had passed for him to make a ruling so he ordered a new caseplan and basically reset the case. Six months later, the kids RU'd.
With our current case, the parents have not done anything, including visits, and the judge ordered the TPR the first day it was scheduled. They called us into the courtroom, read the order, and granted us de facto status.
So, mine is a tale of two tpr's and probably not reassuring if you are looking for guidance on what will likely happen.
Best of luck tomorrow!!!
Our case had two fathers, so that made it interesting. One was consenting to TPR, the other was fighting.
The judge said that she had all the case plans, so let's get to it. If it was in a previous report, she didn't want it rehashed.
All parties could be questioned by the county attorney, the mom's attorney, Dad #1 attorney, Dad#2 attorney, and then the GAL. SO ya. It was interesting just from that standpoint.
There was a visitation/family worker that testified. The SW testified. Both of the dads. Mom didn't. There were a few parties that testified via phone. There was another provider that submitted a statement that was accepted.
I also testified. I was told foster parents don't usually testify... but they wanted me to based on certain circumstances of the case. The only party that prepped me was the GAL. Was crossed by one of the dad's attorney's but it was pretty minor.
They said witnesses usually have to wait outside unless all parties agree it's ok, which they did.
I had a couple WTF moments when I knew the dad was obviously lieing. One of the dad's testimony was heartbreaking, and he truly wanted what was best for his kiddo. I also learned quite a bit that I was unaware of from the beginning of the case. Some puzzle pieces definitely fit together.
IMO, the "trial" was really just firming up all appeal-able issues so the chance of appeal succeeding is little to none.
In our case, dad did not show for his trial, and mom wanted a continuance because she just got her attorney the day before. The continuance was granted. GAL motioned that they still have the trial for dad, mom's attorney objected. His argument was if mom got her daughter back, she wanted to be able to get child support from dad. After a little discussion, it was decided to to ahead and have dad's trial. It lasted about an hour, the juvenile office (similar to prosecuting attorney) ran down the history of the case with all CW involved testifying. Judge ruled for TPR right then. No waiting.
The mom's trial happened about a month and a half later. Went similar to dad's except lasted a lot longer. She had apparently been coached by her attorney. She was using vocabulary that I didn't even she would know the meaning of. Way above her typical level. She was trying to make herself look like the victim of the dad and that everything was all his fault basically. Her whole case history was brought up, and I almost felt bad for her at times because her personal history as a foster child herself was brought up as well, and I learned some very personal things that put her in a new light. It was a mentally exhausting day. But...she still had done nothing on her plan until after dad's TPR was granted. (And this whole time she never requested a visit with her daughter.) Anyway, judge granted TPR, but it took him a month and a half to do it. It was not the same day.
Good luck on your trial! I hope it happens for you today!
Well it was dismissed by the judge due to a request from DHR's attorney and the GAL for it to be continued. They have given Biological dad unti Feb 1 to complete his goals and they are hoping to TPR on both at the same time, hopefully in March they said. I am terribly disappointed because I was hoping to be one step closer by the end of this day and right now I feel like I am still standing in the same place I was 18 mo ago when she first came to us. I will try to remember that God has a plan and I just can't see what it is yet but one day I will be able to look back and see it clearly. Thank you all for the prayers and support and I offer up prayers for everyone's own TPR hearings that are upcoming.
I know it is disappointing...but it is better to TPR on them both at the same time. Most judges don't like to only TPR on one parent and not the other because it leaves a window open for the birth parent who wasn't TPR'd to get the child back and then hand them over to the TPR'd parent. It happens even when the parents despise each other.