State intervention in matters of child custody is meant to serve the best interests of children. Occasionally, however, intervention can have negative consequences.
A married couple in Tucson is fighting to secure custody of their own children, a 2-year-old boy and a 7-month-old son. They were ordered by the court to attend classes in parenting after the mother was found to have painkillers in her system. In the interim, the sons were removed by Child Protective Services officials and put into the custody of a foster mother.
Now, tragically, the older boy has landed in the hospital with what appears to be permanent brain damage, and it’s not clear how it occurred. A court document states that the child choked on food and was brought to the hospital. Tests at the hospital showed he had traumatic injury to his brain and a brain hemorrhage.
The foster parent denies any wrongdoing, and a lawyer speaking on her behalf claims that the child had drugs in his system when he was born and arrived in foster care with many pre-existing health problems. The parents paint a different story. They claim that before CPS removed their children, the older child was lively and thriving. They further claim that since being in foster care he has suffered a broken arm, scratches and bruising, and now brain damage.
The foster mother has been arrested on a charge of child abuse. To further complicate this sad situation, she has also been detained under immigration laws while her legal status in the U.S. is investigated.
The state of Arizona has very specific laws regarding child custody and support. Family law attorneys can help the parents navigate the regulations, including assisting them to understand their obligations, available options and how the court processes work. Lawyers aim to represent the best interests of parents and children in a court of law.
Source: KVOA, “News 4 Tucson talks exclusively to attorney of alleged child abuse foster mom,” Lupita Murillo, March 19, 2014