Unfortunately, it often takes the bad to find the good; sadder still is when a child is involved. In too many child custody cases, one parent, a grandparent or another family member is awarded guardianship because of drug use by one or both biological parents. Some Pennsylvania parents may empathize with one mother who was granted sole child custody when drugs entered the picture.
The woman’s son was only 7 months old when she asked the boy’s father to watch him. The boy got sick and when she got him to the hospital, she was told he had cocaine in his system. The father was charged with neglect of a dependent leading to bodily injury after leaving the illegal drug where the boy could ingest it. He is awaiting a plea hearing in criminal court.
A year and a half later, the mother is now the sole custodian of the boy, but his father has supervised visitation rights. She has been working with state legislators to write a bill that, if passed, requires parents who have a recent history or current suspicion of drug use to undergo drug testing if given visitation rights. It also envisions supervised visits in cases of child exploitation or molestation. It has passed the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee and is awaiting a vote from the House floor.
No matter the reason for the child custody dispute, the best interests of the child should be the focus of both parents as well as the court. That is not always the case, however, and the child is the one who may suffer. Pennsylvania parents needing help as they try to do what is best for their child can contact an experienced attorney who will fight for the rights of the client and the best interests of any children involved.