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The damaging consequences of child abuse and neglect serve not only to reshape a child’s brain, but can in fact last a lifetime.

That’s according to research from the national Academy of Sciences in the first major study on child abuse and neglect to be conducted in the last two decades.

Our Brooklyn family law attorneys know there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our children. We are dedicated to fighting aggressively for their placement with a safe guardian, as well as shielding them from maliciously false claims from those seeking vengeance on adult parties to the case.

We know that in many of these cases, parent who are fighting to protect their children from abuse have also been victims of the abuser. Some may continue to suffer that to an extent, even as they are trying to break free. Children are sometimes used by an abuser as a pawn in these situations, making a clean break difficult.

Though the cycle of abuse is complex, it is not impossible to break. Ending it is critical for your own safety, as well as that of your children.

According to the NAS research, the untreated effects of child abuse and neglect can have a profound influence on both the physical and mental health of a child in the long-term. He or she may suffer an inability to control their impulses and emotions. Their academic achievements tend to be sub-par and the relationships they form as adults tend to be quite troubled.

The authors say estimate that the national cost of child abuse and neglect is roughly $80 billion annually, encompassing costs for hospitalization, law enforcement, social services, juvenile and adult criminal justice and lost work productivity.

That’s not to say that these effects are inevitable or that some can’t be reversed. However, the longer the abuse is allowed to go unabated, the more likely that these ill effects will plague the child in the future.

Once you have decided to act to gain sole custody, you will want to consult with a lawyer as well as social service professionals to determine whether there are immediate safety concerns that must be addressed before you can move forward. Once you and your child are in a safe and secure location, we will help you put in motion proceedings that will help ensure your continued protection.

In almost every case of suspected abuse or neglect, either the state’s Administration for Child Services or the Child Protection Services will launch an investigation. All abuse and neglect cases are heard by a family court judge. There won’t be any trial-by-jury, except in cases where concurrent criminal charges have been filed against the abuser. That action will occur separate from the family court case, though the outcome may influence the family law judge’s ultimate determination.

If either the ACS or CPS determines the child is in imminent risk of danger, the social workers have the authority to remove the child from that risk, even without a court order. The alleged abuser will be entitled to an emergency hearing at that point, if he or she wishes to fight to keep the child in the home.

That emergency hearing must be held within three days. At that point, it will be up to ACS or CPS to prove that the child is at risk of harm. Evidence that might be considered would include reports from law enforcement, health care professionals, school officials and relatives and/or other witnesses.

Whatever determination is made from there, the accused will have a number of other opportunities with which to fight the child’s removal, though the process may be arduous and extensive. Again, we are committed to ensuring that your child is in a safe, loving environment, surrounded by people who will allow them to heal and successfully move past their ordeal.

To speak with a Brooklyn family law attorney, call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

Additional Resources:

New Report: effects of child abuse and neglect, if untreated, can last a lifetime, Sept. 13, 2013, Staff Report, The Washington Post

More Blog Entries:

New York City Divorce Lessons From a Billionaire’s Split, Sept. 6, 2013, Brooklyn Family Law Attorney Blog