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Adoption of Baby Boy A. v. Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

517 A.2d 1244 (1986)

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Adoption of Baby Boy A. v. Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

517 A.2d 1244 (1986)

Facts

In 1979, the father (defendant) of a baby boy was serving a prison sentence for a rape conviction. The father was informed by the director of professional services for the Catholic Social Services of the Diocese (CSSD) (plaintiff) that a baby boy had been born and that he was the biological father. The CSSD director told the father that the mother had consented to voluntarily terminate her parental rights and requested that the father do the same so that the baby could be formally adopted. The father refused to consent, and the child was placed in foster care. The father took no further action to exercise his parental rights while he was incarcerated. Fifteen months after the CSSD director had visited, the father was released on parole and continued to prevent the child’s adoption on the ground that his parental rights should not be terminated. The trial court found for the father on the grounds that the father attempted to exercise his parental rights after his release and that there were obstacles preventing the father from forming a meaningful relationship with the child because he was illiterate. The superior court vacated the trial court’s decision with directions to terminate the father’s rights. The matter was appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hutchinson, J.)

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