Out-of-Home Care Neglect
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Out-of-Home Care Neglect
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The "out-of-home care" provision was essentially enacted to provide adequate protection for those children who spend a significant amount of time being cared for by out-of-home care providers. As more and more parents returned to the workforce on a full-time basis, especially new mothers, more and more children began spending a significant amount of their days being cared for in facilities such as day care facilities, day camps, and other similar settings. In response to the ever-growing number of children who spend their days in the care of individuals other than their parents or legal custodians, many states began enacting these "out-of-home care" provisions to ensure that adequate protection was in place.

So, what exactly does this mean for you as a parent? Well, technically speaking, such a provision insinuates that if a parent or custodian is at fault in their selection of an out-of-home care provider, that parent is liable for civil neglect. Under such a situation, the local county children services board or child protective services unit could file a complaint in Juvenile Court. Once a child is found to be a neglected child, a wide array of options may be available in terms of disposing of the case. In fact, in extreme circumstances, the child could be removed from the home of his or her parents or custodians, and placed into the care of someone else, including foster care. Let’s use a hypothetical situation to flesh this concept out.

Let’s assume that a mother and father choose an in-home day-care provider to provide care for their son, Jack. The provider is a friend of the family who is licensed to supply such services. Let’s also assume that the mother and father know that this provider uses illegal substances on a daily basis, including during the daylight hours when she is caring for other parents’ children. Despite knowing this information, Jack’s parents decide to allow this person to care for their son. One day, the day-care provider passes out as a result of using crack-cocaine while caring for Jack. Jack crawls out the front door of the provider’s house and into the street. A neighbor sees the child in the street and calls the police, who then call the local county children services board upon arrival.

Here, Jack’s parents knew that the provider used illegal substances while providing such care for the children. Their decision to allow this person to care for their child was a poor decision that amounts to neglect. Under these circumstances, the state could conclude that the parents are not providing proper parental care for their child, and he should be removed from their custody. This is an example of an extreme situation where this portion of the child neglect statute would be implicated.

Finally, we’ll wrap this article up by going over a few key points.

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