Child Safety Bill Protects First Child in Court
We have the first known application of our Child Safety Law and it did exactly what it was supposed to do – protect a vulnerable child whose future was in the hands of the state!
A trial court ruled this week that fifteen-month-old Jason does not have to move from the only mom and dad he has ever known.
Jason was born drug-exposed and was abandoned by his parents. Child Services searched for relatives, but the only relation said no, he didn’t want the baby.
So Child Services placed the infant with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, who loved and raised him as their own.
But a year later, the relative changed his mind.
That’s when the Johnsons sought our advice.
They had raised Jason since birth. He called them mom and dad, and indeed, they had become his family.
The Child Safety Law recognizes that when an infant has been with a foster family since birth, over time that family essentially becomes kin. The court then must consider more than just shared DNA when it comes to what is best for a child.
Relying on the new law, the judge ruled that Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had become like family and, all things being equal, it was in the toddler’s best interest to stay with the parents who had loved him since birth.
Please click here for our Legal Brief on the law. We hope this will help the many people involved in child welfare to understand the intent of the law and how to apply it. If you are involved in a child dependency matter and need our help, please inquire here.
The Children’s Law Clinic provides free legal representation on behalf of children. The Clinic currently is comprised of over a dozen pro bono attorneys in Arizona. We are seeking volunteer attorneys to facilitate our courtroom work across the nation. We believe every child has worth and deserves equal protection under the law.
Finally, I’d like to thank the Arizona Capitol Times for recognizing Gen Justice as a Leader of the Year and for this coverage.
We are thankful every day for the opportunity to protect abandoned and abused children with the strength of our justice system.