Infant’s placement dilemma highlights child custody issues

A recent crisis over what to do with a 1-year-old child has focused attention on problems facing the most vulnerable of our society. A Prescott, Arizona, newspaper has reported that the infant now requires a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

According to the news article, the baby, who has been given the pseudonym "Ivy" to protect her identity, needs a CASA volunteer to ensure that her best interests are protected. The child's mother has reportedly admitted to having difficulties taking care of Ivy, and the father is currently incarcerated.

The Department of Child Safety removed Ivy from her mother, who was identified as being homeless, after she reportedly left the child in the care of other family members for extended periods of time. Ivy's father is not expected to be released from prison for several years. A foster home is currently providing full-time care for the child.

A CASA volunteer would be entrusted with several responsibilities if selected to help advocate for Ivy. The volunteer would be tasked with monitoring the child in her foster home and meeting with health care providers. The advocate would also ensure that Ivy receives the right services with regards to her age-appropriate development process.

Currently, Ivy's mother is reportedly working on obtaining treatment services such as attending parenting classes. It is unclear whether there are any immediate plans to reunite the mother with the child, but plans are underway to help find the mother adequate work and housing.

If you are an Arizona resident who is concerned about the well-being of one of your relatives, there are some things you should know. Arizona law allows grandparents certain visitation rights with a child under some circumstances. It made even be possible for grandparents and other family members to obtain child custody in some cases. Your Arizona family law attorney can assist you with learning about the child custody laws and how to use them to benefit your loved one.

Source: The Daily Courier, "Baby in foster care needs advocate" Nov. 19, 2014

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