There are hundreds of cases across the country involving the removal of children from a parent who has suffered domestic abuse at the hands of their spouse or partner. Sometimes labeled as unfit parents, victims of domestic violence are blamed for failing to protect or for neglecting a child who may have witnessed the abuse.
Instead of providing support and ensuring the safety of the family, with an eye toward keeping the family together, sometimes a child is taken away from a non-offending parent in what some characterize as victim blaming. Unfortunately, taking a child away from a non-offending parent, who typically is the most stable person in the child’s life, can exacerbate trauma and victimize survivors of domestic abuse.
In Wisconsin, if a child is believed by the state to be in need of protection or services, a CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection and/or Services) action may be initiated. CHIPS actions may involve cases of cases of alleged child neglect and/or child abuse. If your child has been removed by the state and you believe your family does not have any of the problems such as neglect that makes it okay for the state to get involved, you may ask for a hearing to tell the judge your side of the story. The judge may decide your child is not in danger and send your child home or may decide he or she is still in danger and tell you what you must do, and what the state agency must do to help you, in order for to regain custody. Even though the state has taken temporary custody of your child, remember you are still the legal parent. You can only lose your parental rights if you sign a surrender or the court terminates your rights involuntarily. During this process, it is critical that parents follow all rules related to communication with their children and attend all related hearings; failure to do so may result in the start of a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) action.
Child Placed in Foster Care
If your child is placed in foster care, you may be able to have he or she placed with relatives while your case is ongoing. Because both parents have rights when a child is in foster care, they may include the other parent in hearings, allow him or her child visits, or even award temporary custody of the child. If your spouse, ex-spouse or partner is dangerous or could hurt you or your child, don’t assume that anyone knows their history of abuse. Tell both your lawyer and the social worker your concerns.
Get Legal Representation – FAST
Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Child Removal Actions Lawyer
If the state has taken custody of your child, you have rights and should be represented by an attorney right away. Parents of children subject to a CHIPS petition must have their own legal representative dedicated to preserving their parental rights. It is important to work with a family law attorney with a lot of experience dealing with cases of involving CHIPS and TPR (termination of parental rights) actions. Sometimes your attorney can work out an agreement with the state agency to bring your child home or he or she can preserve for your parental rights in court. If you or someone else is being investigated for child neglect or abuse, or are facing a CHIPS or TPR action, contact the family law attorneys of Probst Law Offices as soon as possible for help at 414-210-3135. Having an experienced team represent you will give you the best chance of preserving your parental rights.