The removal of a child from a home is an emotionally devastating and terrifying event for parents and children. The mixture of anger, embarrassment, and fear the action causes can make people act inappropriately and lower their chances of a reunification. Parents must stay calm and handle the matter maturely to regain custody.
Gather Witness Statements
Look to the people that saw the children daily for support. The list could include daycare providers, neighbors, and teachers. The information they supply could shed light on some of the accusations. For example, if a pediatrician contacted DHS due to bruises or broken bones, a teacher could explain the daredevil nature of the child and how the injuries took place.
Update Medical Records
Medical records do not always stay as updated as people believe. A parent may change doctors and forget to have the records sent, or a doctor might request the records but the files become misplaced along the way. Some reports on the health industry show that it is not unusual for patient charts to go missing or for administrative errors to cause confusion.
Lost or misplaced paperwork could cause a misunderstanding with a doctor that is unfamiliar with the medical history of the child. The new pediatrician may be unaware of an earlier diagnosis of a thyroid condition or realize the child has a severe food allergy that results in them being underweight. The lack of information causes the doctor to believe there is neglect.
Contact prior pediatricians, specialists, and urgent care or ER rooms where the child visited to retrieve all the medical data. A complete medical history can prove that a health issue was wrongly labeled as abuse.
Follow Their Requests
Be cooperative with all DHS representatives despite any animosity felt because of their actions. Attend hearings and meetings, provide them with any documentation they request, and allow home inspections. Stay away as ordered if other family members have temporary custody of the children.
No one should confess to something they did not do or allow themselves to feel bullied into admitting their parenting skills were lax. Cooperation does not have to mean giving up. Understand that the law requires caseworkers to follow up on all reports made to child protection agencies.
Avoid Risky Behaviors
Ex-partners sometimes make false accusations about child abuse. Sometimes people do it with the hope that it will improve their chances of receiving custody. Sometimes the only reason for false claims is to cause pain. False claims also come from neighbors, coworkers, and many others.
The majority of complaints prove to be unfounded. In fact, of the estimated 3.2 million cases reported per year, 2.5 million show no evidence of abuse and neglect. Do not approach any suspected accuser, no matter how malicious you feel they have acted, and never make threats.
Make Some Changes
Make changes if there was any validity in the complaints. Clean up and repair an unsafe home. Check into an in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center for help with an addiction issue. Look for ways to afford childcare rather than leave a young child home alone. Learn more about nutrition or take a basic cooking class.
Mistakes in the past do not have to mean the permanent loss of custody. Child service workers want children to be with their parents, but these workers have a duty to make certain that all children have a safe home. Parents that make the effort to improve their parenting skills will increase their chances of a reunification.
Seek Legal Help
Good parenting does not automatically protect someone from this type of problem. Anyone can suddenly have their life upturned by false accusations and invasive investigations. Most people do not understand their rights or know what the state agencies can and cannot do. A legal advisor can help people to avoid mistakes.
At Kanehl Law Firm P.L.L.C., we know that every citizen has rights and we do all we can to protect those rights. Contact us if you are at risk of losing your children due to a DHS investigation or if they are already out of the home. Call today to arrange a consultation.