The Administration for Children’s Services, hereinafter referred to as (“ACS”), brought a proceeding claiming that parents had neglected a one year old child. They claimed the parents were providing inadequate guardianship. They took the position the baby fell in the park and sustained an injury to his face. Despite the child being injured, ACS claimed the parents unreasonably failed to obtain medical care. As a result of this application, emergency removal of the child was conducted by ACS. The child was removed to ACS’ custody.
Parents Demand a Hearing
The parents demanded a hearing. The parents testified when the child fell, he cried. However, the mother picked him up, calmed him down and ascertained that it was not a serious injury. The parents took the position the injuries on the day that ACS appeared at their home and took pictures of the child were significantly worse than on the first day of the incident. The mother also stated that she was going to take the child to the hospital, but she changed her plans when ACS requested a meeting with her. Judge Erik Pitchal, sitting in the Family Court of Kings County, found the father’s testimony that he had spoken with the mother and requested she obtain medical attention for the child before leaving for work was believable. This is true even though several days went by and the mother had not obtained medical treatment for the child.
The judge found even though the parents did not take the child for immediate medical treatment, he would not remove the child from the parent’s custody. Judge Pitchal found the failure of the parents to seek quick medical attention did not cause further injury to the child or place the child in imminent danger or impairment. The judge therefore dismissed the petition and ordered the child be returned to his parents.
This is an example of ACS overreacting to a child who had a small bruise on his face. The parents in this case came very close to losing custody of their child over a small bruise which children periodically receive while playing.