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New law may provide a child protection defense for parents

Certain situations arise in which a parent has few resources to effectively care for a child. A parent may then wish to temporarily place a child in the care of another person while he or she acquires the needed resources that will allow him or her to be able to care for the child again. Sometimes, leaving a child with another person could cause the parent to be charged with neglect or abandonment, and this can leave the parent in need of a child protection defense. A proposed law in another state raises the issue and provides a solution that may be useful for parents in the state of Texas. 

Under the proposed law, parents would be able to temporarily give up custody of their children using the power of attorney through a private child care facility such as a church or other organization. The move would keep children out of state foster care and would cost the state nothing. Parents across the United States already do this, but the practice is not always protected by law. 

The law would provide another layer of security for parents so that they do not have to fear losing their child while they undergo drug treatment or acquire safe housing. The bill also firms up rules regarding background checks for providers. The providers also become mandated reporters. 

A parent in a tough spot may have to make the decision to temporarily give up custody. If he or she does this with the best interests of the child in mind, he or she should not have to fear being charged with abuse or neglect by the state. In Texas, a person who took steps to protect a child but has been charged with neglect may find him or herself in need of a child protection defense. Since the issue can be very sensitive, a person may require more help. An experienced attorney may be a good choice to guide a parent through a child services case. 

Source:, "Parents could temporarily give up custody of children under proposed law", Titus Wu, April 9, 2018

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