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Missouri parents could give up custody rights under new bill

38961503_S.jpgA proposed state law would allow parents to seek outside help for caring for their children without facing charges of abuse or neglect. A Missouri state senator has introduced a bill that allows parents to give up their custody rights temporarily if they are unable to care for their children while they seek help for drug addiction or work to resolve any other major issues affecting their lives and livelihood. The practice is already used in the state, but the law would give a legal shelter against charges of child abandonment or neglect. 

Any parents who find themselves temporarily unable to provide care for their children, whether it is due to homelessness, a job loss, addiction rehabilitation or some other serious matter, may be able to use a power of attorney to temporarily give custody rights to a third party. If the process is followed, the parent would not be subject to charges of child abuse, neglect or abandonment. The parent would not lose his or her custodial rights, and there would be no financial cost to the state. 

Parents who find themselves lacking resources but still make good-faith efforts to improve their situations for their children should not face criminal charges. The law wants to support parents in that aim and keep kids out of the state foster care system. The bill also builds in protections for children by adding background checks for care providers and setting guidelines for the creation of care plans. 

For most parents, maintaining their custody rights and keeping a healthy relationship with their children is extremely important. The law, if it passes, will support those who take the steps to become better parents to their children. Sometimes, a parent may find him or herself facing a battle to keep custody rights. In Missouri, a lawyer can be a valuable help for individuals in custody disputes. 

Source: columbiamissourian.com, "Parents could temporarily give up custody of children under proposed law", Titus Wu, April 9, 2018

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