US court: authorities can take children into care even if there is no evidence of mistreatment
The case concerned a divorced mother, referred to as ‘LS’ in court documents, living in Camden County within the state. Her nine year-old twin daughters suffered from various emotional problems and learning difficulties and she approached the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, saying they needed special care which she was unable to provide. The courts acknowledged that there had been no neglect or abuse of the children but still transferred custody of the girls to the state.
After treatment one girl returned to her mother, but custody of her sister was given to the father.
The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey contributed to the case with an amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefing, setting out their views. Executive Director Diana Autin told CBS Philly that the courts can place a child in care if parents cannot properly provide for children with special needs. Parents who can afford to meet the needs of children with psychological or emotional problems were unlikely to be targeted, she explained.
“You can turn to the Division [of Child Protection] for help, but it may come with a cost. It could end with an award of custody to the Division for at least six months, maybe even longer.”
“By seeking help, [the mother in this case] lost custody of one of her children.”
Struggling parents considering going to the authorities for help should seek legal advice beforehand, she advised.
Photo of the Supreme Court of New Jersey building by BD2412 via Wikipedia
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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