In the District, Child and Family Services (“CFSA”) involved adoptions are both complicated in legal requirements as well as in procedural steps needed to reach finalization.  The legal process starts with filing of an adoption petition, which would generate show cause orders to be served on parents.  Upon service, the parents may either enter a written consent, or contest the proceedings. The adoption petitioner then in a contested proceedings has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that either the biological parents have abandoned or failed to provide financial support for the child for a period of six months preceding filing of the petition or that they are withholding their consent contrary to the best interest of the child.  These elements are generally established through factual witnesses such as the social workers, the petitioners, and in some cases the biological parents. The best interest of child legal criteria in the adoption proceedings triggers court’s analysis of the following factors: 1) The child’s gradual and consistent care and overall integration in the foster home environment.  Evidence again that is either presented through fact witnesses, social worker’s observations etc – or established through a therapeutic relationship/treatment. 2) Physical mental and emotional health
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Categories: Uncategorized.


In the District, depending on the outcome of a criminal case, there are various formulas used to seal arrest and other generated criminal records.  This blog will address four main statutorily authorized procedures and the requirements thereto: 1)   Sealing the record when case dismissed before trial 2)   Sealing record based on innocence 3)   Sealing record post trial with a non-guilty verdict 4)   Post conviction filing to seal record 1) Sealing of the Arrest Records Motion to seal an arrest record may be file by any person arrested for an offense whose prosecution/case has been terminated without conviction and before trial. Motion to seal the arrest record may be filed within 120 days of the case dismissal.  Beyond that, and up to three years post dismissal, a motion to seal may be filed — however the motion needs to detail and substantiate good cause shown why it was not filed within 120 days required.  It must articulate clearly that motion needs to be considered in order to prevent manifest injustice.  Any filing beyond the three years would require consent of the prosecutor. The prosecutor has 30 days to file a written response.  The court may or may not require a hearing,
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Categories: Criminal Defense.


Beyond the Penn State Scandal: Child Abuse Reporting Laws (Washington Lawyer) For some observers, the Penn State scandal exposes the problems inherent in the web of complicated laws defining the scope of who must report suspected child abuse. Available here. Parents’ Depression Linked to Problems in Children (NY Times) Research into postnatal depression has underscored the importance of checking up on parents’ mental health in the first months of a baby’s life. But a parent’s depression, it turns out, can be linked to all kinds of problems, even in the lives of older children. Available here. Adapting to Aging Out: Profiles of Risk and Resilience Among Emancipated Foster Youth (University of California, Riverside) This data-driven report reviews patterns of competencies (e.g., education,occupation, civil engagement, interpersonal relationships) among emancipated foster youth. Available here. Measure of a Mother’s Love: How Early Neglect Derails Child Development (TIME) Most people don’t need science to appreciate the importance of a mother’s love. But to understand how early maltreatment can derail a child’s development requires careful study — and is fraught with ethical peril. Available here.
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Categories: Family Law.