Prioritizing the interests of the children through Child Protection Cases
Civil cases involving children are particularly difficult for everyone involved. The state of Idaho has outlined specific measures to follow in order to prioritize the best interests of the children.
- Ensure the Safety of the Child. The health and safety of the child is the primary concern of the court.
- Avoid Unnecessary Separation of Children and Families. Consistent with the Idaho Child Protective Act, “[t]he state of Idaho shall . . . seek to preserve, protect, enhance and reunite the family relationship.” The court system and other stakeholders should use their authority to ensure that social and protective services are immediately available to families whose children may be abused or neglected so that parents have a fair opportunity to become competent and safe caretakers. The services should be easily accessible, adequate, appropriate, and delivered in a culturally competent framework. The child’s family – barring insurmountable safety issues – is the first choice for permanency.
- Make Timely Decisions in Child Protection Cases. For children, the prolonged uncertainty of not knowing whether they will be removed from the home, whether and when they will return home when they might be moved to another foster home, or whether and when they may be placed in a new permanent home is frightening. This uncertainty can seriously and permanently damage a child’s mental health and emotional development. All stakeholders in the child protection system should be attentive to the statutory time deadlines in child protection cases and should move cases forward as expeditiously as possible. To achieve better outcomes in cases, the services should be “front-loaded.” This means that all stakeholders must move quickly to assess the facts of the case, identify the appropriate parties, and provide the appropriate services for the family at the earliest possible stage. Effective practice includes early identification and involvement of fathers and other relatives, early engagement of parents in the court process, as well as early voluntary involvement of the family in remedial services. Other important court practices include establishing firm court dates and times with tight control over continuances and rapid distribution of the court’s orders to all parties.
At Hardee, Piñol & Kracke, PLLC our attorneys will provide you with legal support to ensure your child is in the best situation possible.