CHILDREN IN DANGER

Extensive research indicates that children do better when given unlimited access to both parents. However, that dynamic becomes extremely altered when abuse and other serious and potentially dangerous situations come into play. If authorities believe that a child is in danger, they must weigh the trauma the child may experience against the positives they gain if they should remove the child from the home.

Removing a child from a dangerous home is difficult, but many times it's necessary.

Negative Effects

The negative effects of child removal are well-documented. Children who are placed in foster care often suffer from greater behavioral problems. In many cases, these behavioral problems last beyond childhood and create issues in adolescence and adult life. They also experience higher rates of teen motherhood, juvenile delinquency, and unemployment than children who are allowed to remain in their home with court supervision.

Positive Effects

Removing a child from a dangerous home does have its positives. Children who are allowed to live with a single parent, another relative, or in the foster care system away from the abuse no longer need to worry about being neglected or mistreated. This can increase self-esteem and allow them to heal from the trauma of abuse. In situations where abuse and neglect are severe, it may save their lives.

Alternative Arrangements

One parent may be deemed unfit due to proven instances of abuse and neglect. That does not automatically mean that the child should be removed from the home. A child custody attorney may petition the court on behalf of the other parent to allow them to have sole legal and physical custody, or for the child to live with other family members with visitation rights for the parents.

Child’s Best Interests

No matter what decision the court makes, that determination must be made while keeping the child’s best interests in mind. However, determining what is best is often difficult, especially in situations where abuse and neglect allegations arise. The court must make an effort to determine whether the allegations are true and then make a decision regarding the custody arrangement.

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