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Family in child custody battle with state

For most Missouri families, the thought of having their children taken away is one of the most distressing scenarios imaginable. Parents who remain in an intact marriage often feel assured that their family unit will remain unbroken, but it is important to understand that divorce is not the only child custody threat that families can face. In certain circumstances, parental rights are challenged by the state, which can be a harrowing experience for both parents and children.

Child protective services departments play a crucial role in keeping many children safe, but these state offices do not always get it right when it comes to investigating reports of abuse or neglect. An example may be found in the recent removal of 10 children from their family home. The case has received national media attention due to the fact that the removal appears to be based on the family's lifestyle choices, not due to issues of abuse.

The family in question lives an off-the-grid lifestyle, striving for the greatest degree of autonomy possible. They live in a cabin that is not built to code on a piece of land that is largely undeveloped. The children are not enrolled in public schools and are educated by the family. There is some debate between the family and state officials as to whether or not the family has access to running water and a working toilet.

When authorities came to investigate the family's living conditions and the welfare of the children, the parents were uncooperative. Days later, all 10 of their children were removed from the home and placed into the care of the state. The parents are now faced with a court battle to regain their child custody rights, and they also face criminal charges for their unwillingness to cooperate with police. While the matter remains under investigation, many Missouri parents can understand the fear, anger and frustration that would accompany the sudden loss of one's children.

Source: wlky.com, "Breckinridge County parents won't regain custody of 10 kids this week", Christina Mora and Erica Coghill, May 11, 2015

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