The District of Columbia has a very broad and far reaching child abuse and neglect Statute. The standard of proof is only by the “preponderance of evidence” – your child can be removed from your home for any number of reasons that fall under the Statute.
The term “neglected child” is the District is defined as:
(i) who has been abandoned or abused by his or her parent, guardian, or custodian, or whose parent, guardian, or custodian has failed to make reasonable efforts to prevent the infliction of abuse upon the child. For the purposes of this sub-subparagraph, the term “reasonable efforts” includes filing a petition for civil protection from intrafamily violence pursuant to section 16-1003;
(ii) who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his or her physical, mental, or emotional health, and the deprivation is not due to the lack of financial means of his or her parent, guardian, or custodian;
(iii) whose parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to discharge his or her responsibilities to and for the child because of incarceration, hospitalization, or other physical or mental incapacity;
(iv) whose parent, guardian, or custodian refuses or is unable to assume the responsibility for the child’s care, control, or subsistence and the person or institution which is providing for the child states an intention to discontinue such care;
(v) who is in imminent danger of being abused and another child living in the same household or under the care of the same parent, guardian, or custodian has been abused;
(vi) who has received negligent treatment or maltreatment from his or her parent, guardian, or custodian;
(vii) who has resided in a hospital located in the District of Columbia for at least 10 calendar days following the birth of the child, despite a medical determination that the child is ready for discharge from the hospital, and the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child has not taken any action or made any effort to maintain a parental, guardianship, or custodial relationship or contact with the child;
(viii) who is born addicted or dependent on a controlled substance or has a significant presence of a controlled substance in his or her system at birth;
(ix) in whose body there is a controlled substance as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian; or
(x) who is regularly exposed to illegal drug-related activity in the home.
If you are under the investigation by the Child and Family Services Agency (“CFSA”), or your child has been removed or is about to be removed from your home – it is imperative to contact our experienced and seasoned DC child abuse and neglect lawyers for a free initial consultation.
We have litigated a great number of CFSA and court involved cases and know how to protect your rights and to either prevent removal, or to make sure your child is returned to your care as soon as possible.
If you have also been wrongfully named in a neglect petition and thus entered into the Child Protection Registry — you can through a CFSA fair hearing procedure remove your name from the registry and restore your rights.
Our experienced and knowledgeable DC child abuse and neglect lawyers will fight an illegal removal, guide you through all the legal and procedural aspects of a court involved case and put you on a path to a quick reunification.