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County apparently forced parents to sign child custody papers

Every state has laws in place to protect children from abuse or negligence. Along with these protections, there are also specific requirements and procedures that must be followed before parental rights can be terminated. South Carolina parents who are facing difficulties with any child custody issues can seek information from a family law attorney.

Recently, it has been discovered that a county office of the Department of Social Services in a neighboring state was circumnavigating the court system when it came to removing children from allegedly negligent or abusive homes. The agency was utilizing a custody and visitation agreement (CVA) as a means to place children in the homes of relatives or foster parents without first obtaining a court order. The problem came to light when one father asked a neighbor to care for his child while he attended to the needs of his hospitalized wife. 

Purportedly, a few days after the neighbor began caring for the child, one of her teachers reported to DSS that the child came to school smelling like a cat. DSS stepped in and coerced the father into signing a CVA, which gave the child over to the care of her estranged grandfather. As her father later prepared to fight to regain custody, it was discovered that the CVA was never approved by the courts.

This has lead to the discovery that these types of agreements have been used for a number of years and have possibly placed the children involved in greater harm as those awarded custody were not investigated beforehand. One social worker now worries that the illegal actions of caseworkers could, in some instances, result in children being returned to negligent homes. The investigation is ongoing at this time. Anytime a South Carolina resident finds him or herself in a child custody dispute, an experienced and compassionate attorney can help the client resolve the problem in a manner that best meets the needs of the child involved.

Source: citizen-times.com, "Child custody: WNC county illegally removed kids from homes", Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr, March 15, 2018

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