Jaidon’s Law: Child Protection in the Face of Parental Rights

Jaidon’s Law: Child Protection in the Face of Parental Rights

Many laws that have been put in place protect the rights of parents with regards to their children. The rights, however, are based on the concept that children are better off with their biological parents than without. At the heart of the issue is the vulnerability that comes from being a child; children are less able to adequately voice their concerns regarding their family lifestyles, and thus, certain laws have been put into place to ensure their protection, even in the face of parental rights. Though parental rights are fundamental, government officials do have a right to intervene on these rights if there is harm or a threat of harm to a child while within the family home.

These child protection laws are drafted and managed on a state-by-state basis, and it is up to each state’s legislature to outline the scope of the responsibilities that parents take on, as well as the line that must be crossed before government intervention within the family home may take place.

South Carolina Legislation: Jaidon’s Law

In South Carolina, there is significant legislation that defines the scope of child protection and parental rights. In 2014, these rights were further defined and focused with the passage of Jaidon’s Law, which outlines the procedural mechanism that must take place when a child is taken from a home where drugs are present, and what must be shown before a child may be returned to the home, if at all. Jaidon’s Law was written in the aftermath of the death of a two-year-old boy who was returned to the custody of his biological parents but died a week later of a drug overdose of prescription cough medicine. His grandmother and father are serving prison sentences for homicide by child abuse.

The Parameters of Jaidon’s Law

Jaidon’s Law prescribes that when a child is taken from the family due to drug abuse by the biological parents, it is up to the court and the South Carolina Department of Social Services to determine whether the child can be placed back in the home after some time has passed. The biological parents are required to enter certain rehabilitative programs and/or demonstrate, after a period of time, that they are no longer drug abusers. Jaidon’s Law provides also that the court may determine whether the biological parents may have contact with the child, to what extent, and if their parental rights are to be terminated as a result of failing the drug tests and programs that may be required.

Termination of Parental Rights: How?

Parental rights, according to Jaidon’s Law, may be terminated if the one or more of the following is demonstrated:

  • The child in question or another child has been severely and/or repeatedly harmed while residing in the familial home, and it is not reasonably likely that the familial home can be made safe within 12 months.
  • Either of the parents, if provided visitation rights, failed to visit the child during a period of six months, although certain factors will be considered such as the distance between the child’s foster placement and the parent’s home.
  • Either of the parents has willfully failed to provide material support to the child’s care for a period of six months while the child lived outside the home.
  • The parent has been convicted or has pled guilty or nolo contendere to the murder, voluntary manslaughter, or homicide of child abuse of either the child’s other parent or another child within the family home.
  • The child has spent 15 of the most recent 22 months in foster care or as a ward of the state.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

Parental rights are considered fundamental rights and government intervention occur when there is a significant harm to the child(ren) within the home. It is important to understand your parental rights and if necessary to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC, who can teach you more about how to protect these rights. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an inital and confidential consultation.