Amish family faces child custody fight over medical care

For the most part, parents are able to make a great deal of the decisions about the care of their children without fear or worry of state intervention. However, when the life of the child may be at stake, the courts can and will interfere and possibly seek child custody. Pennsylvania families may want to follow the intervention of state authorities in a nearby state as felt they needed to take action against Amish parents.

The battle involves a 10-year-old Amish girl with cancer who was receiving chemotherapy. The parents decided to stop treatments so the hospital has intervened. The hospital is seeking to have a nurse, who is an attorney, take limited guardianship of the child.

There are many widely known and accepted reasons why some parents halt or do not seek medical care for their minor children. Most often, those reasons pertain to religious views or a quest to seek non-traditional or alternative therapies. However, if that decision is deemed as threatening to the health of the child and possibly a decision that could lead to that child’s death, the state can and will intervene.

The complexities of child custody cases between parents who think they are doing what they believe right and the state who believes the hospital or doctors may know best can be very difficult to maneuver. However, family courts in Pennsylvania work diligently to find what the best interests of a child may be. Anytime a court makes a decision about child custody that one party may believe is detrimental, they can appeal and/or seek further relief if they believe that would be in the child’s best interests.

Source:, MN Mom Risked Losing Custody of Child over Forced Chemo, Cassie Hart, Aug. 31, 2013