Children deserve to be protected and cared for at all times. However, there are situations where a parent is unwilling or unable to care for the child and the authorities may need to step in. Family members may also offer to take charge of the children in this situation to prevent the authorities from getting involved. In the event you are concerned about a child in your life who may be at risk of harm, filing for Emergency child custody is the right step to take. Who can apply for custody and when?

Anyone Can Report Abuse or Neglect

Any person who suspects a child may be at risk of being abused or neglected or is already in an abusive or neglectful situation can contact the local social services department or child welfare. This does not have to be done by a family member. Furthermore, certain individuals are required by law to report any situation in which they believe a child is being abused or neglected. Doing so is not meant to harm the parents but to ensure the safety of the child or children.

Taking Emergency Custody

Any person may request emergency custody of a child. The court takes many factors into consideration when determining where to place a child to ensure their safety. While the family is often preferred, there may be situations where an adult outside of the family could be given custody. The best way to determine whether to proceed with filing for custody is to speak to a family law attorney. They can be of great assistance at this time.

Be aware that courts do promote family reunification. The goal is to return the child to his or her parent or parents in the shortest time possible. Parents will likely be required to complete certain tasks before this occurs, but anyone taking emergency custody needs to understand the child could return home in the future. Only when one or both parents fail to fulfill these obligations will the child permanently be removed from the home. Speak to an attorney today to learn more about emergency custody proceedings to determine if this is the right option for you.