Each state has its own system for dealing with cases in which termination of parental rights is considered. Federal law spells out certain conditions and timelines, but states interpret and apply them differently.
An Associated Press analysis of data compiled by federal officials shows some striking variations. Maryland, for example, had a rate of 10.5 parental rights terminations for every 100,000 children in 2014; at the high end of the scale, the rate per 100,000 children was 283 in neighboring West Virginia and 252 in Oklahoma.
Even looking only at the children placed in foster care, there are pronounced differences. Children affected by a termination order accounted for about 30 percent of the 30,358 youths in the Texas foster care system; Maryland tallied only 142 children affected by termination orders — about 3.5 percent of its foster care population of 4,032. Much more from: