The Missouri Supreme Court handed down on January 5, 2017 its decision in In the Interest of J.P.B. This is an important case for the termination of parental rights for incarcerated parents. J.P.B. provides guidance on bases for terminating rights and the limitations on constitutional and procedural rights for incarcerated parents facing termination.
Some of us are mandated reporters, including all sorts of professionals responsible for the care of children. Sometimes mandated reporters need guidelines. The Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services publishes a useful handbook, Guidelines for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.
A professor of mine when I was in law school, Nancy Levit, published this past fall in the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, “Children’s Interests: An Annotated Bibliography, 2013-2015,” a bibliography of law review articles. The bibliography itself reads something like a dictionary, but it is a useful tool to find resources for recent scholarly work on various topics relevant to family court practice.
The Family Law Resource Guide is published by the Missouri Bar and available for free here. The guide gives some background information about juveniles, marriage, divorce (aka, “dissolution”), child support, adoption, co-parenting and children with disabilities.
I really appreciate it when a happy client ends a case and lets me know things are looking up. Yesterday, a happy mother brought me a gift basket and a thank you note with a picture of her child and his doggie.
“Thank you so much for the constant support. It has meant a lot.”
They won’t take your kids just because you teach them to drive.
Daughter, 14 years old, had an accident with injury while mom’s boyfriend was teaching her to drive. Children’s Division substantiated a hotline against the boyfriend for neglect. Substantiation was upheld at the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board. Trial de novo held in circuit court. Trial court found Division failed to prove at evidentiary hearing that the boyfriend neglected the daughter and ordered his name removed from the Central Registry. Division appealed but the trial court’s finding was affirmed. Division had the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Mother’s boyfriend neglected daughter. Division argued boyfriend was negligent in violating statute about unlicensed operator driving the vehicle. “Negligence” and “neglect” are not the same. “Negligence” is based upon an external and objective standard of conduct, not personal or subjective intent. “Neglect” focuses on physical deprivation or harm and the intent, generally inferred, determined by conduct. Subjective intent may or may not be considered by the court. Trial court believed boyfriend that he did not intend to harm daughter or physically deprive her of anything. Negligence is not necessarily neglect. In the Interest of Sercl, No. SD33396 (Mo.App. S.D. July 22, 2015).