Burden of Proof Begone: The Pernicious Effect of Emergency Removal in Child Protective Proceedings

Family Court Review, Vol. 41, p. 457, October 2003

Family Court Review, Vol. 42, p. 540, July 2004 - Republished

27 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2011  

Paul Chill

University of Connecticut - School of Law

Date Written: October 2003

Abstract

This article examines the tendency of emergency child removal decisions – by social workers, police officers, and judges – to become self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating in subsequent child protective proceedings. This "snowball effect," as one court has referred to it, is widely acknowledged by juvenile court lawyers and judges but is largely unknown outside their circles. The article explores the causes and consequences of this phenomenon in the age of ASFA2 (the 1997 federal Adoption and Safe Families Act), which converts every day that a child spends in foster care into one more tick of the clock in a countdown toward termination of parental rights. The article provides some background on the law and practice of emergency child removal in the United States today; analyzes the factors that make initial removals outcome determinative in many child protection cases; considers the implications of this phenomenon in light of ASFA; and identifies possible solutions.

Keywords: Foster care; termination of parental rights: ex parte; emergency; summary; removal; children; self-perpetuating; self-reinforcing

Suggested Citation

Chill, Paul, Burden of Proof Begone: The Pernicious Effect of Emergency Removal in Child Protective Proceedings (October 2003). Family Court Review, Vol. 41, p. 457, October 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1886506

Paul Chill (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States

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