RI Supreme Court Terminates Prisoner’s Parental Rights

In an opinion written by Justice Flaherty, the Rhode Island Supreme Court held in In re Jose Luis R.H. that a termination of a father’s parental rights to his son will be upheld, where the temination decision was supported by evidence (1) that the Department of Children, Youth and Families made reasonable efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship between father and son; (2) that the father only began to participate in relevant programs around the time DCYF filed its petition to terminate his parental rights; and (3) that the father’s incarceration rendered it improbable that he would be able to care for his child within a reasonable period of time.

How tragic is this:

We appreciate that the respondent has demonstrated his love for and desire to be a parent to Jose Luis, but the fact remains that he presented no evidence of his actual ability to care for Jose Luis within a reasonable period. “[A] parent’s genuine love for [his] child, or an existence of a bond between parent and child is not sufficient to overcome the child’s fundamental right to a safe and nurturing environment.” In re Douglas F., 840 A.2d 1087, 1089 (R.I. 2003) (quoting In re Brianna D., 798 A.2d 413, 415 (R.I. 2002)).


We affirm the Family Court decree terminating the respondent’s parental rights…


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