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2 families at odds over child custody of foster child

Those in Florida who open their homes and hearts to children in need provide an essential service. Being a foster parent can be challenging, especially when foster families become attached to the children within their care. Often, those kids are eventually placed back into the care of their biological parents. In some cases, foster families seek to adopt the children that they welcome into their homes. When there are relatives who also want to adopt that child, a difficult child custody battle can occur.

Such is the case for two families who are at odds over the care and custody of an 18-month-old toddler. The child was placed with a foster family when she was just 5 days old. Eventually, the parental rights of the child's biological parents were terminated. That cleared the way for the little girl to be adopted, but it also created a new set of priorities for the social workers who are tasked with overseeing the child's living arrangements.

The department of Child Protective Services that is handling the case has a policy in place that states that children are to be placed with suitable family members when the biological parents have lost their rights. In this case, the little girl's paternal aunt is seeking custody. The foster family is concerned that the paternal relatives will not be able to provide a safe home for the child, in light of the fact that the biological father has had issues with drugs and a criminal record. However, the biological aunt asserts that just because her brother has struggled has no bearing on her ability to provide the child with a loving home.

The case will soon go before a jury, and a decision will be made as to the child custody rights of both sides. This is an example of the complexities of child custody, and the burden that is often placed on courts to determine the best course of action when families cannot agree on what is best for a child. It is easy to identify with the perspective of both sides of this matter, and it is hoped that the outcome will be one that everyone involved can accept. For Florida families who are seeking to adopt a child out of foster care, the matter serves as a warning of the difficulties that can arise in such circumstances.

Source: ksat.com, "Decision expected in custody of 18-month-old foster child", Jessie Degollado, April 29, 2016

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