Child custody issues are usually related to providing a safe environment for young people to grow up. Judges want to minimize any major disruptions, especially after a divorce. However, South Carolina, along with every other state, has their own procedures that can sometimes produce some unforeseen results.
Local woman who had her custody rights revoked was still able to run a daycare center out of her home
The incident began when Horry County Police received reports of a child who attended middle school with a black eye, cut lips, and swollen forehead. After an interview, the child confirmed that his mother punched him multiple times and hit him with a wooden object. The South Carolina Department of Social Services arrived shortly afterward to take the boy and his younger sister into protective custody.
After this incident, the state eventually determined that the woman responsible for the abuse also operated a day care center out of her home, which was legitimately registered with the state to provide services for up to six children at once. However, there was almost a year long gap between when her children were taken away and the local government cited her for failing to report the prior arrest. A state representative who runs a joint legislative committee for children found out, and released a statement regarding the shocking nature of the situation. Apparently, child protective services had failed to notify the body that handles licensing requirements for day care centers in this particular incident.
Independent investigations found that social services and other government agencies often fail to share information with each other, leading to these kinds of absurd situations. The agency responded in an official email, but social services denied that there are any communication problems between their employees, law enforcement, or any other government departments.
The head of South Carolina Legal Justice Appleseed said the situation was not surprising. She had previously filed federal lawsuits against the Department of Social Services in 2015, and said that communication problems are actually very common.
Private day care centers operated out of homes make up approximately one third of all daycare services provided in the state of South Carolina. However, situations where convicted child abusers or criminals run these facilities are more likely because of problems involving poor communication between law enforcement, social services, and the licensing agencies. Many parents who are looking for a low cost alternative to a traditional daycare center may be surprised to find out that their children can be watched by unsavory individuals for months before anyone finds out about their past.
Preparing for a custody hearing
In a typical custody dispute, one parent will normally have to prove their fitness to a judge to retain primary custody. If they cannot do so, the children may go to the other biological parent, or the state in extreme cases. Because no parent is perfect, it is common for issues such as substance abuse, criminal records, long periods of unemployment or financial instability, and mental health to all become relevant in a custody determination.
Learn more about custody, divorce, and other family law issues
People who are dealing with any of these matters in the Greenville area should be aware that there is legal assistance available from experienced local attorneys. The Hayes Law Firm can provide guidance based on your particular situation.