From the Knoxville News Sentinel
Knoxville County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin presides over more terminations of parental rights cases than any other judge in Tennessee.
Every week, he makes decisions on whether a parent gets another chance to keep their children — or lose them forever.
His court docket in recent years has become so crowded with parents addicted to painkillers, his decisions have become quicker and surer.
“Those cases used to take several hours in court,” he said. “Now they take a matter of minutes. I just look at the medical records and the case goes pretty quickly.
“It’s a terrible thing that we do here on a weekly basis,” Irwin said. “But you can’t trust active opiate addicts to be parents. They’ll put their addiction first every time. You hate to sever the bond between a mother and child, but it doesn’t end there because a lot of time the mother has another child and you have to go through it all over again. It’s the saddest thing I do.”
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