Being a parent is both an immense privilege and a great responsibility, one that can sometimes become complicated. Many parents make lifestyle choices that seem concerning to those observing their children, or to those who disagree with certain lifestyle choices. One Texas family is currently fighting to regain custody of their 11 children after authorities removed the children from their home due to complaints filed by neighbors.
The current situation is only the latest of several of its kind that the family has faced, both in Texas and in other states. The most recent complaints stem from reports that neighbors of the family filed about children climbing into trash bins scavenge for food, as well as loud screaming late at night, which would be covered up with loud music. The couple faced similar allegations in Michigan and New Jersey between 2001 and 2013.
For their part, the family claims that they are merely being targeted by intolerant communities and enforcement agencies because they homeschool and oppose vaccinations, as well as the sheer number of their children. When faced with accusations that they often move across state lines to evade child abuse or neglect charges, the couple dismissed them, stating that they merely move for various employment opportunities. When questioned about why his children have been reported to scavenge in trashcans for food, the father replied that due to the significant amount of food stamp support his family receives, food scarcity is not a problem.
If you are a parent, then you know how essential it is both to take excellent care of your child and also to have your lifestyle choices respected. For those parents who feel that they are being unfairly treated by authorities who may be threatening to remove a child, the guidance of an attorney with experience in child custody can help ensure that you and your child remain protected while you navigate the balance between healthy parenting and personal rights.
Source: Penn Live, "Couple tries to regain custody of 11 children in Texas after investigations in 3 states," Sep. 17, 2016