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Woman seeks child custody of her son following illness

While some in Pennsylvania have complication-free pregnancies, others do not and, ultimately, find themselves in the hospital. Being ill during pregnancy can make caring for another child complicated; many families are able to cope by relying on family members and friends. Unfortunately, one out-of-state woman hospitalized due to pregnancy complications claims that a woman she considered a friend -- and former employee of the Department of Children's Services -- took advantage of their relationship by seeking child custody of her young son while she was in the hospital.

The mother claims that she first met the woman when she was 15. She and her brother were both in foster care and her relationship with the woman stems from the woman's role with DCS. However, the teenager and the woman reportedly became close friends.

The young woman claims that when she found out she was pregnant, the older woman made several comments about wanting custody of the child. The mother never agreed to such an arrangement. However, when the younger woman became pregnant with her second child, she claims she became very ill and was hospitalized. During this time, she gave the woman power of attorney over the child so she would be able to make medical decisions for him.

The young mother noticed that things seemed different when she was preparing the be discharged from the hospital and soon discovered that her friend requested emergency custody of the child, claiming that he was neglected and in immediate danger. A judge who later recused himself from the case due to a conflict of interest signed the order, and the young mother has not seen her son since. A judge has recently ruled that custody of the child would be given to the mother's aunt; once the young woman's health recovers, she can have full custody of her child again.

The mother in this case claims that the woman's experience with the DCS and her relationship with the judge allowed her to position herself to take custody of the child. The average person, likely including the young mother in this case, does not have the benefit of this knowledge. As a result, many in Pennsylvania embroiled in a child custody case seek the help of attorneys with experience with family law to help ensure that their voices are heard during such a battle.

Source: wreg.com, "Mother claims former DCS worker used position and influence to take her baby", Eryn Taylor, April 5, 2016

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