When two people who share a child no longer live together, it’s not uncommon for one parent to worry about how their child is doing when he or she is staying with the other parent. One Florida man, however, could never have imagined the plight his child was in when police informed him that his son was living in filth, and the child’s mother had been arrested and faced criminal charges of child neglect.
Officers in Boca Raton, responding to an emergency call on behalf of the child, entered the mother’s home and found the 10-year-old boy living amid piles of animal feces, urine and garbage. One officer said the smell in the house was so bad, he feared there was a dead body in the home.
At an emergency child custody hearing, police showed the boy’s father and the judge explicit photographs of conditions in the home, depicting mounds of animal excrement and urine-stained carpeting. The father, who wants full custody of the boy, told the judge he believed the boy’s mother was drinking and using drugs again.
In an attempt to defend herself, the woman said that she was stressed from having to care for her mother, who had suffered two heart attacks. She said that she let things get out of control and failed to ask for help when she needed it. The woman’s father told the judge he believed his daughter was a good mother.
The judge disagreed with the woman’s reasons and awarded temporary custody to the boy’s father. The boy is out of immediate danger and the father’s lawyer says he will argue for full custody at a future trial. While most parents don’t have to worry that their children are criminally neglected, sometimes changing custody arrangements is still in the best interests of the child.
Source: CBS Miami, “Child found in Boca Raton home living in deplorable conditions,” Nov. 15, 2013