Unruly Children Removed from Custody in California

You think you are doing the best by your children and, in most cases, you are right. Unfortunately, sometimes your best is not good enough when it comes to the unruliest of children. If that becomes your reality, you could very well have your children removed from your custody.

Just two weeks ago, the 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that removed a teenage girl from the custody of her mother. The state saw fit to remove the child and place her with her grandparents. The mother was not found to be neglectful or abusive. In fact, the courts were very clear that they believed the mother had made every attempt to reign in her teenager.

The court wrote, “(The) mother in this case was neither neglectful nor blameworthy in being unable to supervise or protect her daughter.”

Under California law, doing your best may not be good enough. The law is clear when it comes to children being removed from parental custody. If a child has suffered risk of serious harm, and the parent is unable to stop that risk, children may be taken away.

In this particular case, the teenager repeatedly skipped school and ran away from home. The girl also had a child of her own at the age of 15. One of her school absences ultimately ended in a trip to the hospital, possibly putting the legal ball in motion due to the “serious risk of harm” wording.

Although the mother called police for assistance with her daughter several times, the pair were never assigned to juvenile court. The pair may have been aided in the court system in such a way that the daughter did not have to be removed from custody, which is only the best decision in very specific cases.

Cases like this bring to light the need for early intervention in families whose children are out of control or on a path to destruction. Public services such as mentorship programs and in-home counseling must be considered before such drastic measures as removal from the home are taken.

While some legal experts feel that this law is in direct violation of the Constitution, it has been upheld in appellate courts. The next move for this family will be the state Supreme Court where cases involving facts such as these are often judged in favor of the parents. What will happen in this case remains to be seen, but legal experts are keeping a close eye on its progression.

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