The act of terminating parental rights-the total and permanent severance of the parent-child relationship-is an example of extreme intervention by the state in an individual's private interests. It involves the complex interrelations of a trilogy: the parents' natural rights, the child's personal interests, and the state's interest in the welfare of its citizens.
Barbara M. Rose,
Termination of Parental Rights-An Analysis of Virginia's Statute,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol15/iss1/9