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Parents take steps to get child custody over state agency

Pennsylvania parents may have read about those who have lost custody of their children because of drug and alcohol abuse. It can be tough for these parents to regain child custody, even after becoming sober and taking steps to improve their lives. The parents of two little girls are fighting the state for child custody after the Department of Children and Families took them away in 2014.

The state agency got involved after the father was arrested for domestic violence, spending four months in jail for his offense. He now admits his alcohol abuse caused him to become abusive to his wife. Although he never hurt his daughters, the oldest of which is now four years old, he knows he could have. The state did not place the oldest girl in the custody of her mother, as her mother made the choice to return to her husband. Instead, she was placed with a woman who had too many foster children at one time, and her inability to care for them led to the death of one child and irreparable physical and brain damage to the four-year-old girl.

The couple has taken the necessary steps to get their children back. They are in couples and individual counseling, the father attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as well as an almost year-long program for physical abusers, and he is taking medication for bipolar disorder. Their legal representative believes the agency never had plans to return the girls to their parents unless a judge rendered an order for compliance. The father feels it is an uphill battle, but one he promises to never give up.

Fighting for child custody, whether against another spouse or a state agency, cannot be done alone. Those forced into this battle need a professional who has experience in this type of legal encounter. A family law attorney familiar with the regulations set by the state of Pennsylvania will be able to guide a parent through the court system as he or she tries to maintain a family unit.

Source: telegram.com, "Obstacles, frustration vex Worcester couple in quest to regain children from DCF custody", Elaine Thompson, Nov. 11, 2017

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