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Parenting is not easy; the word “challenging” is a gross understatement when it comes to parenting a child. But there are situations that occur whereby a parent cannot temporarily or permanently care for a child. Some of these reasons include mental health issues, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and chemical addiction. A parent needs a time out to get his or her affairs back in order before he or she can resume parenting his or her child or children.
If a parent is unable to work his or her way through a challenge that negatively impacts his or her ability to parent a child a county agency may come forward and take custody of the child or children. The County has the burden to show that the parent created a condition that was dangerous or harmful to the child. The parent must then be given the opportunity to correct the condition(s) that led to the child being placed out of the home. If the parent corrects the deficiency within six months to a year then the child or children will be returned to the parent. If the parent is unable to make the requested corrections then the child may be permanently placed in the care of another individual. Placement with a third party could include a transfer of custody to another family member or a non-custodial parent, or a termination of parental rights.
Parents to “children in need of protection or services” proceedings, or CHIPS for short, need to be advised that they have specific rights when it comes to the removal of children from their care. Parenting is a protected right under the United States Constitution. While you have a right to court appointed counsel, in addition to other rights, in such a proceeding if you are unable to hire a lawyer on your own it is easy to get lost in the procedures and laws that come with child protection action.
Our firm offers common-sense and aggressive advocacy for parents who find themselves involved with a child protection proceeding. Our firm has been representing child protection clients for over four years. Contact our office today to see how we can best serve your legal interests and rights in child protection matters.