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Custody & Visitation

Custody and visitation are difficult issues for some parents and families.

Orphanages are an ‘option’

Posted 12/18/2009 1:09 AMBy Wendy Koch, USA TODAY“Children who live in orphanages fare as well or better than those in family homes, reports a Duke University study that tracked more than 3,000 children in five Asian and African countries. The study is touted as one of the most comprehensive ever done on orphans. Orphaned and abandoned children ages 6-12 were evaluated over a three-year period in 83 institutions and 311 families in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Tanzania. Those in institutions had significantly better health scores, lower prevalence of recent sickness and fewer emotional problems.“ The findings were reported in USA...

Mental Care Poor for Some Children in State Custody

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 By ROBERT PEAR  The New York Times Thousands of parents have given up custody of their children under pressure from states in order to obtain treatment for the children’s severe mental illnesses, federal investigators say, but some states have not lived up to their end of the deal. Federal officials said they had found deplorable conditions in many state institutions where children were supposed to receive treatment. For example, investigators from the civil rights division of the Justice Department recently found “significant and wide-ranging deficiencies in patient care” at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, Calif., near Los Angeles. The hospital provides patients ages 11 to 17 with “woefully inadequate” treatment and unnecessary medications, exposing them “to a significant risk of harm and to actual harm,” the department said. Nora A. Romero, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Mental Health, said the state disagreed with some of the findings but was taking steps to improve care. The Justice Department also said children with mental disorders had been subjected to “unhealthy, inhumane and unlawful” conditions at two state training schools in Mississippi. Federal officials said children with mental disorders were not even supposed to be at the schools, Columbia and Oakley. The Mississippi Department of Human Services said it would work with the state’s Department of Mental Health to provide “alternative placement” for children found to be mentally ill at the schools. In a survey of state and local officials, the General Accounting Office (news – web sites), an investigative arm of Congress, found that parents had placed more than 12,700 children in the child welfare or...

Children’s time: the real issue in grandparents’ rights case

by Dahlia Lithwick FindLaw Contributor Special to CNN Interactive June 23, 2000 Web posted at: 12:20 p.m. EST (1620 GMT) (FindLaw) — Much of the commentary about Troxel v. Granville — the so-called grandparents’ rights case decided in the Supreme Court in June — has focused on what the modern “family” means, both practically and as a matter of constitutional law. This question has become more difficult as non-traditional households boom, and two-parent-heterosexual-stain-removing-mom households decline. In the 1950s, grandparents who sought visitation would have been looked upon as odd — perhaps even a bit tetched. Now, however, it’s common for non-parents to seek visitation and even custody. (Indeed, under the first lady’s theory, even an entire village might have the right to visitation.) This sea change is partly due to the expansion of our definition of family. Which is why the holding in Troxel — that grandparents cannot visit their grandchildren over their mother’s objection — has had national resonance. But it’s not the only reason. Troxel was not just about redefining family. It was also about our society’s increasing obsession with time, and our lack of it. As time with children becomes more rare and more precious, it’s no surprise that adults have started battling over it – and taking their fights all the way the Supreme Court. Splitting the baby’s time At its heart, Troxel was a fight over a unique commodity: children’s time. The precise amount of time at issue was 1,200 hours per year — the difference between the amount of visitation the girls’ paternal grandparents sought, and the amount their mother was willing to...

Shared Parenting: The New Frontier

A shared parenting arrangement is defined as involving at least 30 percent of the time with each parent, the incidence of shared care among divorced couples increased from 2.2 percent to 14.2 percent between 1980 and 1992. By 2001, it had reached 32 percent.