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Protecting Your Child And Defending Your Parental Rights

The Kentucky courts may require a parent or family to undergo abuse, dependency, neglect action (DNA) proceedings when the fitness of the parent or the welfare of the child is in question. Once proceedings start, the court has expansive freedom to act as it sees fit to protect the best interests of the child.

The goal of DNA actions is to protect the child. Law enforcement cannot punish parents solely for DNA proceedings. However, a parent may face criminal charges for child abuse. If you are under investigation by law enforcement or a family welfare agency, you need experienced legal representation to protect your child and your parental rights. Turn to the skilled attorneys at Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold for assistance. Our firm serves clients throughout the Richmond area.

A Legal Obligation To Intervene

If law enforcement or a family welfare agency suspects child abuse or if a case of abuse is reported, they have a legal obligation to investigate the welfare of the child. DNA proceedings can also come about when:

  • A child is excessively tardy or absent from school.
  • A child commits a juvenile crime.
  • A domestic violence case involves one or both parents.
  • A parent emotionally or physically injures the child or allows someone else to injure the child.

An Overview Of DNA Proceedings

Once the proceedings start a social worker will perform an investigation and mandatory reporting. In cases where the child is in immediate danger, the child will be temporarily removed from the home. A temporary removal hearing will follow to determine if the child should be placed in the care of a relative or a foster family. A formal hearing will take place to determine the best course of action, generally within 45 days. Kentucky courts make every attempt to reunite the parent and child when appropriate, often ordering rehabilitative services or supervised visitation to protect the child but still preserve a parent-child relationship. However, if deemed unfit, the court will terminate parental rights.

If you are facing DNA proceedings, we can help. Contact our office to discuss your options during a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers. Call 859-353-0878 or reach our office online to schedule yours.