Roseville, CA — A lot of parents may not be aware of this but if a child is transported in a vehicle without the child’s safety seat and seat belt and an accident occurs killing the child that was not safely strapped inside the car, the surviving siblings or other children maybe removed from their parents by the social welfare authorities and placed into foster care. Apparently this controversial ruling has been unanimously backed by the California Supreme Court. Talk about grieving for a dead child and losing the others at the same time.
This decision of the Supreme Court sided with the the LA County social workers who took two boys into state custody and placed them in foster care after their 18-month old sister died in a car accident. The car accident was caused by another driver who plowed into the family car after running a stop sign. The father of the 18-month old baby girl and the baby was sitting on her aunt’s lap when the incident occurred.
Here’s the controversial part, apparently, the LA County Social Welfare Department has the right to remove children from their homes even in cases where the death of the child was not by abuse or criminal negligence. There is also no requirement for social welfare agencies to provide proof or evidence that the negligent conduct of the person handling the child posed such a risk that it ended in a fatality and will be a further risk to the other existing siblings/children. Talk about having no right to your child at all because of one dumb decision not to buckle up the kid.
The father was said to have been in “extreme remorse” after the incident. But according to reports, the reason why the LA County social welfare department intervened was because they received a report a week later that the dead child’s other siblings were being neglected. When the social workers arrived at the home, the remaining siblings (2 boys aged 8 and 8 months old), the workers found evidence that they were being neglected. There were about 20 people living in the household, the father had custody of his children and was separated from his wife who was cognitively impaired. The place of residence was dirty and the older child had severe developmental delays and badly needed dental care. The social workers used the law that states children maybe removed from their parents if negligence caused a child’s death. The father of the children argued that his children should only be removed in the event of criminal negligence and endangered the lives of the other children. But the court ruled “breach of ordinary care” was sufficient enough to trigger the intervention of social services.
In this situation, the “breach of ordinary care” was indeed applicable since the remaining siblings were living in unsanitary conditions and was not receiving the care that they needed but what about other families? These type of ruling may empower social service agencies to just remove children from their families without considering the emotional well-being of child. Everyone has heard it before there are far too many breaches in the policy of the social services departments, the children that really need their help are not being monitored properly and the foster homes these children end up with sometimes abuse these children. It’s a scary reality.
But all is not lost though, the father was advised to attend parenting classes and his children will be returned to him after his graduation from parenting class. But still, with this kind of mindset of just removing children because of one negligent act that may not be applicable to all situations, is it really for the best interest of the child?
So people, make sure you buckle those kids safely and make sure you think of the safety of your children first or else one stupid mistake might lead you to losing all of your kids. Consider yourselves warned.