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Children removed for abuse from state custody homes

Divorce brings a host of changes to families, many of them unwelcome. One of the most feared possibilities faced by divorcing parents is losing custody of their children to the other parent or even to the system. Allegations made by divorcing spouses may include incidents of child neglect or abuse that may bring about investigations by state agencies, ultimately affecting the outcome of child custody.

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families released a report identifying cases of child abuse against children removed from their parents' homes and placed in foster homes. Other abuses were identified in schools and day care settings. In 2012, the agency examined 234 reports and discovered nearly 250 allegations where children were mistreated by those charged with providing them care.

While it is usually rare for children in divorce cases to be removed from the custody of both biological parents and placed in foster care, it can happen, especially if an angry spouse lashes out against the other in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the divorce. This strategy can backfire and land the children in facilities or foster homes which, while monitored by the Department of Children and Families, can let abused children slip through the cracks of bureaucracy and red tape.

One professional who works with families estimates that only a third of the cases of alleged child abuse are reported. Just because abuse is alleged, either by a parent or mandated reporter like a teacher or medical professional, does not necessarily mean that abuse has occurred. Cases of neglect can be even harder to detect and report and may be indicated by a child's poor hygiene or the condition of the home.

Parents should always have their children's best interests at heart while divorcing and should never invent abuse allegations or exaggerate innocent interactions between their children and their soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Should you find yourself being accused of abuse or neglect in a child custody case, it is imperative to retain an aggressive family lawyer who can fight to preserve your parental and custodial rights and keep your children from being removed from the home and placed into the foster care system.

Source: wggb.com, "Report Outlines Reported Child Abuse While in State Custody" No author given, Dec. 03, 2013

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