By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Monday, August 29, 2016.
Can you lose custody because your kids walk home from school? Ride a bike without supervision? A few unlucky parents have found out. Is life riskier these days, or is there another reason?
Last year, Florida’s Dept. of Children and Families placed two brothers into foster care and then in the care of a relative, Why? Because the 11-year old was found playing basketball alone in his own yard.
A few years ago, a tourist from Denmark left her child in a stroller outside a restaurant while she ate inside got her baby back from foster care yesterday evening, a day after a Family Court judge ordered that the child be returned to her.
Conversely, Dwyane Wade’s cousin was killed last week while pushing her baby in a stroller down the street on her way to enroll a child at the “Dulles School of Excellence” in Chicago’s south side.
In the United States today, leaving children unsupervised is grounds for moral outrage and can lead to a DCF investigation, family court custody problems, and even criminal charges.
On the one hand, as the story about Dwyane Wade’s cousin shows, what was safe in the past may be risky today; placing children in genuine danger. However, statistics from the National Crime Victimization Survey suggest that violent crime rates have decreased since the 1970s.
The odds that a child will be killed or abducted by a stranger – one of the fears that motivates constant supervision – are tiny in comparison with the odds that a child will be injured in a car accident. Yet parents aren’t under investigation for choosing to drive their kids to school.
I’ve written before about the Constitutional rights of parents. Overregulation of parenting choices may violate the parents’ rights. In Troxel v. Granville, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the “fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.”
Unfortunately, Troxel is not a case often cited in family court cases, may be ignored by DCF, and most parents lack the resources to fight prolonged legal battles to vindicate their rights.
What are acceptable forms of parenting in the U.S. has shifted strongly in favor of Helicopter parenting, emphasizing protection of children from risks of harm. In a custody hearing, who wants to defend being the Danish parenting attitude?
Recently, a counter trend has emerged. Some parents argue that over-parenting to protect against remote and risks of harm may expose children to more serious risks to their well-being and development.
The Yahoo News article is here.