“We all make mistakes.” Certainly, we do, and we hear this all the time. However, it seems like every day parents fail to care properly for their children. Does every parent realize the long-term consequences?
The Family Court has the authority to remove a child or children from the parents’ home for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the parents are using or selling drugs. Perhaps their home is filthy beyond a reasonable measure. Perhaps they don’t supervise, feed or care for their small children. Perhaps their method of discipline is too severe. There are any number of circumstances which can easily lead parents into the Family Court, begging for their children to be returned to them.
When children are removed, foster care is no picnic. Many children are allowed to “drift” in foster care, often moving from place to place multiple times. Many children are returned to their former homes only to be neglected/abused/injured all over again. If your child ends up in foster care, he or she is suffering again – this time from the loss of a stable, permanent home with parents who will nurture and love them from their earliest days. Placement with relatives is often a substitute for foster care – but not necessarily a substitute for a stable, permanent home and the attendant nurturing and loving so desperately needed by children.
As a Charleston custody lawyer, I assisted some grandparents yesterday in securing the adoption of their young grandson – which necessarily means that his biological parents had their parental rights terminated. This young boy, at age 7, had been in the sole care of his grandparents for 4 years. His young parents were in and out of school, in and out of drug abuse, in and out of jail, in and out of work, in and out of places to live, and generally living in chaos. Neither grandparent wanted to adopt their grandson, really; what they wanted was for his parents to get their acts together and be the responsible parents they needed to be. After 4 years, it became too long and too late. However, neither of the parents realized that their failure to act responsibly meant that they would lose their child. After having been given many chances by many well-intentioned persons, they thought they would get more, but there were no more chances. Their grief, and their loss, were terrible things to witness.
These situations can be avoided. Society as a whole has much to learn, and to pass on, about the care of our youngest citizens. In this State, all would do well to remember this: where the interests of a child and his parents clash, the interests of the child will always prevail.
Please contact Patricia O. DeTreville if she can assist you in any manner, or with additional questions regarding the termination of parental rights or adoption, at 843-571-0537, or [email protected]
Editor’s note: This article originally published on March 4, 2013 at www.detrevillelaw.com.