Readers of this blog may have heard about heard about a recent controversy centered on Arizona's Child Protective Services agency. Apparently, thousands of child abuse reports were not investigated, causing an upheaval of disapproval. As a result, Governor Jan Brewer removed CPS from its parent agency and established it under a new cabinet-level department aimed at handling child welfare issues more efficiently. Since doing this, the agency has investigated thousands of cases and removed hundreds of children from their home.
When a family has a child removed from their home by the state, they may be concerned about their child's future. Depending on the specific facts of a case, a family may be threatened with the loss of child custody. This can be a difficult thought to handle, and those who wind up facing such a threat should seek to protect their legal parental rights.
A family law attorney can help fight for these rights. In child custody cases, whether arising out of a divorce, parental death, or allegations of abuse and neglect, a court seeks to find a home that supports the best interests of the child. A judge may assess familial history with regards to income, instances of abuse or neglect, emotional bonds, and overall home stability in an effort to find the best living situation available.
An attorney with experience handling child custody cases can help gather evidence and witness statements showing an individual's ability to adequately care for his or her child. This support, coupled with sound legal argument, gives a party the best chance of retaining or obtaining sole custody of a child.
Also, many times visitation rights or joint custody issues may come into play. In these instances, a lawyer will aggressively show why his client's presence in the child's life is important and necessary to support the child's best interests.
In the end, these cases are about what is best for the child. During a time of emotional upheaval, an attorney may be best suited to articulate why a party's significant involvement in the child's life is important.
Source: ABC News 15, "Arizona CPS update: 385 kids removed from homes in ignored cases," Jan. 15, 2014