Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Dr. Lisa S. Nored

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Dr. W. Wes Johnson

Committee Member 2 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 3

Dr. Hayden Griffin

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

As the myriad of complex circumstances surrounding incarceration and foster care debilitate the parent-child relationship, the likelihood of legal severance between an incarcerated parent and their child increases. Despite the nation’s mounting prison population over the last three decades, the growing interaction between the prison and foster care populations has received minimal attention in the literature. To date, the influence of the statutory grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights on the legal severance between incarcerated parents and their children has been largely ignored. The purpose of this research is to determine the susceptibility of incarcerated parents to the involuntary termination of parental rights by examining the impact of the statutory grounds based on the legislation of circumstances impeded by incarceration. Using content analysis, this study is designed to examine existing legislation to answer whether statutory grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights have an undue impact on incarcerated parents and their children as a result of the restrictions inherent in incarceration.