An important step in preparing a child for adoption is the final post-termination of parental rights (TPR) “goodbye” visit with parent(s). In some cases, this will be the last face-to-face contact the child(ren) will have with the parents. In other cases, the child(redn) may continue to have contact with family members even after adoption. In either circumstance, the goodbye visit represents a significant change in the child(ren)’s life and relationship with the parents. It is important that this visit is planned with the support and cooperation of the SSW, significant family members, foster or adoptive parents, and mental health professionals involved with the child(ren) and family.
- During the thirty (30) calendar day period following a TPR judgment when the parent(s) may file an appeal, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS/Cabinet) may continue regular visitation between the child and family. If an appeal is filed, procedures are followed in SOP 11.38 Services to the Family During an Appeal. If an appeal has been filed, and visitation has continued during the appeal time, 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 standard of practice (SOP).
- If the child’s adoption has been finalized, a goodbye visit is at the discretion of the adoptive parents.
- Schedules a goodbye visit once the TPR judgement has been received; 1
- Conducts face-to-face visits with the birth parent(s) and the child(ren) separately to discuss and prepare for the final visit prior to the goodbye visit;
- Notifies mental health professionals who are providing services to the child of the date for the final visit;
- Schedules an appointment with the child’(ren)s therapist following the goodbye visit to allow the child(ren) 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(ren)’s best interest;
- Schedules a goodbye visit with extended family members or other significant people in the child(ren)'s life if the whereabouts of the parent(s) are unknown at the time of TPR whenever possible;
- Consults with the FSOS, and possibly with the child(ren)’s therapist, to determine whether a visit should be scheduled if the absent parent(s) request a visit at a later time for a child who has not yet been adopted; 2
- Provides a memo requesting approval to the SRA or designee if recommendation is made for the delayed final visit.