Family Court Shutdown due to Coronavirus Could Cause Termination of Parental Rights for Countless Families

Federal laws require states to initiate termination of parental rights when a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months. With family courts shutting down across the country due to the Coronavirus outbreak, delaying reunification and adjudication hearings, could families face termination of their parental rights without due process? CPS must have a signed order by a judge in order to remove a child from their home, unless the agency feels a child is in imminent danger, at which time the agency can proceed with an “emergency removal." The agency must then seek the approval of a judge on the following business day. At that time, the family is likely assigned an attorney or has already sought legal counsel to contest the removal and petition the court to return the child home.  With the potential spread of COVID-19, family courts have closed or reduced caseloads. According to the report by Kramer, regarding a statement from the New York State Office of Court Administration, judges are holding hearings by phone and video, only on “essential/emergency” matters. The administration did not respond to the author's request for further comments on their story. Kramer states, according to attorneys who represent parents, judges are continuing to hear petitions from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) seeking to remove children from their homes and place them in foster care, but they are not willing to hear motions by parents seeking to return children home.

Why Judges Should NOT be Determining “What is Best for the Child”

Our headline, Why Judges Should NOT be Determining "What is Best for the Child", may sound like a statement that disregards child safety. It may lead one to believe that children are doomed to become victims in many cases if a judge does not step in and rule on what is "best for the child." However, Law Professor Vivek Sankaran has made the case that this is NOT the primary role of judges, and that instead judges should be interpreting the law and applying it by objective standards. The decisions about what are "best for the child" are really parental decisions, and the primary function of a court of law in determining child safety is whether or not the parents are fit to be parents. I myself would take that one step further, and state that parents should be judged like any other alleged criminal, in criminal courts, with the full due process of law that is part of our constitutional rights, just as these rights are applied to other alleged criminals, such as murderers, terrorists, etc. If a criminal court cannot convict a parent of criminal conduct, such as abusing their own children, then family or juvenile court judges have no right replacing the parents' responsibilities to raise their own children with their own opinions about how that child should be raised. Statistics clearly show that the State makes a poor substitute for parents, and even when it is done in the "best interest of the child," the child is almost always the one who suffers the most from the trauma of being separated from their families.

Medical Kidnapping Business: Judges Skirting the Law for Federal Funds

You have just had armed law enforcement officials show up at your home with CPS workers, demanding that you hand over your child. Terrified, you ask, why?? A doctor has issued a complaint of "medical abuse." Then you remember that you chose to fire your doctor and choose a new one. Not able to resist armed law enforcement, you have no choice but to watch them take your child away. You quickly call an attorney, who sets up a court appearance where you can appeal your case to a judge in family court. Unfortunately, the judge seems unwilling to listen to your reasoning, and does not return your child. Seem like a nightmare? This is a nightmare happening to hundreds of families all across America. Why is this happening? Why do 99% of cases like this brought before a judge in family court never allow the child to return home? As one attorney states: "Can they really be right that much of the time?" In this article we explain why family court judges almost never return children to their parents, with actual footage from a judge's training video on a government website, showing how federal funding received for children who become wards of the state over-ride parental rights.