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Elected or appointed individual, usually also an attorney, who grants the FINALIZATION of an adoption and gives the adopted child all the legal rights of a child born to the family. Usually this procedure is performed in the judge's chambers or a private waiting room, although some adoption proceedings are held in a courtroom.

When protective services social workers recommend that parental rights of an abusive or neglectful parent be terminated, it is the judge who will decide whether or not to terminate these rights. (See also CUSTODY; TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS.)

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