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Birthfather – Decision Case



Case Synopsis

Gretchen Fuller, a new MSW supervisor for Trinity Family Services in Ohio, received a referral from the local prison that a pregnant inmate, Keisha Brown, was interested in adoption. Gretchen worked with Keisha to initiate the adoption process and choose a prospective adoptive family. Keisha identified Jamal as the birthfather, but Jamal did not respond to repeated contacts by either Keisha or Gretchen. Just days before the baby’s birth, however, Jamal contacted Gretchen, questioning both his paternity and Keisha’s decision about adoption. After Gretchen arranged a paternity test which returned positive, Jamal agreed to fill out termination of parental rights (TPR) paperwork. After signing the crucial paperwork, an agitated Jamal stopped during the last supplemental form and left the meeting without taking back his signed TPR documents. One day before the court date to terminate Keisha and Jamal’s parental rights, Jamal called Gretchen, saying he was not sure about the adoption. Keisha wanted the child to go to her chosen adoptive family and the baby, already in a receiving home, needed to go shortly to a permanent placement, either with the pre-adoptive family or to the foster care system. With the court date scheduled for the following day, Gretchen had to decide what to do.

Intended Case Use

Written for a BSW level (and MSW level) social work course(s) in child welfare, or practice with families, it may also be used for specialized instruction on religion/spirituality in social work practice, policy, and ethics or, more generally, for instruction on social work direct practice, family treatment, or case management.

Author/Speaker: Jennifer L. Fahy

No part of this electronic copy of case may be reproduced, revised, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise — without the written permission of NACSW.



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