When Can the State Take Your Children?

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: losing your children. Unfortunately, Georgia’s Division of Family and Childhood Services (DFCS) has the power in some situations to take your children away from you, principally because of alleged deprivation. If a complaint has been filed against you as a parent, then you’ll need a qualified juvenile law attorney by your side to help you build a powerful defense.

What is Deprivation?

Generally, Georgia defines a deprived child as one “without proper parental care or control” which can include being abandoned or not being provided for physically, mentally, or emotionally. Common examples of deprivation include the following:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Failure to protect a child from physical or sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse such as terrorizing the child
  • Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or supervision
  • Failure to provide needed medical care

Who Can Report Alleged Deprivation?

Anyone can report suspected deprivation or abuse—your neighbor, a friend, or a random person on the street. Additionally, Georgia law has created a group of people who qualify as “mandated reporters,” meaning they are legally obligated to report suspected deprivation to the state. Usually, mandated reporters are certain professionals who come into regular contact with children and might see signs of abuse or neglect. In Georgia, the following professionals are classified as mandated reporters:

  • Case managers
  • Clergy
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Daycare workers
  • School teacher
  • Other school personnel

This is only a partial list of mandated reporters. In fact, the list runs to over 50 people, and Georgia adds to it regularly. For example, in 2012, the state expanded the list to include Girl Scouts volunteers.

Evidence is Key

It’s not unusual for mandated reporters to report suspected deprivation but to not have all of the facts when they do so. After all, their job isn’t to investigate; instead, the state wants them to simply report suspected abuse and neglect. To defend yourself, you’ll need a skilled juvenile law attorney who can help gather all of the facts and present them to the state. For example, you may need to find experts to testify on your behalf, such as child psychologists.

DFCS cases can be drawn out and confusing to navigate, and the stakes are very high. At The Epps Law Group, we have experience representing mothers and fathers in deprivation hearings and negotiations with the state. We’ll protect your rights and do everything possible to keep your family intact.

Reach Out to a Georgia Juvenile Law Attorney Today

When the state starts proceedings against you, you might feel powerless. One of the most effective ways to get your power back is to contact a qualified Georgia DFCS defense attorney to help you fight the deprivation complaint. Kyle Epps, the founder of The Epps Law Group, has extensive experience in this area. In fact, he has even worked as a judge pro temp in Forsyth County, so he understands how judges view these cases and what kinds of evidence they find persuasive. Reach out to us today by calling (678) 257-4507 or by completing our online contact form.