This New Yorker perspective piece on Child Protective Services’ removal of children from their parents is a difficult read. But, gives a fairly accurate account of the many moving pieces and challenges in these cases.
In child custody cases, one of the considerations is the fitness of the parents. The assumption is that at least one parent is fit and the court’s options are limited to living arrangements that involve one or both parents. The court does not have a third option, unless a third party is participating in the case.
The types of cases discussed in this article are different. When Child Protective Services (CPS) is involved to this extent, it is often the result of a combination of factors: poverty, unfitness, addiction, mental health issues, and abuse and/or neglect. The options are far more varied. A child could remain with a parent under CPS’s supervision, a child could be removed and placed with a family member or foster care, parental rights could eventually be terminated and the child adopted, or a parent could sign away his/her rights and adoption follow.
These are often heartbreaking cases. Even if your family situation does not rise to this level, any CPS involvement is a serious thing, deserving attorney advice and representation.
Even if CPS is never involved in your family’s situation, it is worth remembering that judges see far too many of these cases, which can impact the weight a judge gives to the concerns of fit parents in contested custody cases who face none of these challenges.