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Kid_filmmaker
06-27-2018, 03:14 AM
If a child was taken from a father because the father was homeless and couldn't care for the child, how many months does it take for a child to be reunited with their father in Louisiana? Or can the father get the child back as soon as they have a stable job and a stable home?

In my novel, I have it where the male character gets his daughter back, two months after getting a stable job and a stable place to stay, because his daughter got taken away because he was homeless and her school felt he couldn't take care of her while homeless.

MatthewSteele
06-27-2018, 04:12 AM
Hello Kid,

I am not in Louisiana but I have participated in the foster care system in a different state and I imagine they work generally the same. So in terms of getting a child back once they have been taken by the state, it depends on why the child was taken in the first place and how severe the issue was. What happens is once the child is taken, they are placed with a foster family, or sometimes group home depending on the situation. (PS. this can be an interesting plot point in your novel, relationship with the foster family because parents are allowed regular visitations with their children while they are in the custody of the state.) The state then determines what conditions need to be met for the return of the child.

In the situation that you have stated, the father was homeless meaning he is not able to provide a safe environment for his child. After the state took the child they would provide the father with a list of steps needed to be taken to have the child returned. This would most likely involve all the necessary steps to get to where he can provide a safe environment; IE: get a job so he can afford rent/a roof over there heads. They would probably throw in other things like drug screenings and parenting lessons as well. Only when the state felt these terms had been met, and when they have inspected and approved the 'safe environment' would they then return the child. This process usually takes about a year, sometimes 4-6 months if the parent(s) is super on the ball. If the parent takes too long, the state then severs Parental Rights and the parent looses the child permanently. (Another good plot point) While the child is in the foster care system there is a case manager in charge of the child, this is who the parent would be talking to to set up visitations and have regular check ins. There would also be a court hearing every 4-6 months to re-asses the situation. There are several other smaller pieces to this convoluted system, but that I would recommend doing some research :).

Hope this helps!

cornflake
06-27-2018, 04:18 AM
If a child was taken from a father because the father was homeless and couldn't care for the child, how many months does it take for a child to be reunited with their father in Louisiana? Or can the father get the child back as soon as they have a stable job and a stable home?

In my novel, I have it where the male character gets his daughter back, two months after getting a stable job and a stable place to stay, because his daughter got taken away because he was homeless and her school felt he couldn't take care of her while homeless.

I don't know about Louisiana, but up here, being homeless is not a reason in and of itself for CPS to step in, and, given the numbers of homeless kids in this country, I'd wager that's the case most places. So the judge would probably be looking at a timeline for achieving whatever milestones are related to what got the kid removed. I don't know about a two-month lag once something basic (that doesn't like, require drug testing), had been achieved. I'd think his lawyer would want a hearing sooner?

Kid_filmmaker
06-27-2018, 05:05 AM
Hello Kid,

I am not in Louisiana but I have participated in the foster care system in a different state and I imagine they work generally the same. So in terms of getting a child back once they have been taken by the state, it depends on why the child was taken in the first place and how severe the issue was. What happens is once the child is taken, they are placed with a foster family, or sometimes group home depending on the situation. (PS. this can be an interesting plot point in your novel, relationship with the foster family because parents are allowed regular visitations with their children while they are in the custody of the state.) The state then determines what conditions need to be met for the return of the child.

In the situation that you have stated, the father was homeless meaning he is not able to provide a safe environment for his child. After the state took the child they would provide the father with a list of steps needed to be taken to have the child returned. This would most likely involve all the necessary steps to get to where he can provide a safe environment; IE: get a job so he can afford rent/a roof over there heads. They would probably throw in other things like drug screenings and parenting lessons as well. Only when the state felt these terms had been met, and when they have inspected and approved the 'safe environment' would they then return the child. This process usually takes about a year, sometimes 4-6 months if the parent(s) is super on the ball. If the parent takes too long, the state then severs Parental Rights and the parent looses the child permanently. (Another good plot point) While the child is in the foster care system there is a case manager in charge of the child, this is who the parent would be talking to to set up visitations and have regular check ins. There would also be a court hearing every 4-6 months to re-asses the situation. There are several other smaller pieces to this convoluted system, but that I would recommend doing some research :).

Hope this helps!

Thanks Cornflake and thanks Matthew for your answer, so me saying it would take two months is unrealistic then? So if I put it at four months, would that make it at least realistic, because in my novel, my male character goes to rehab (because he develops a short term heroin addiction, but his daughter is taken away from him after he gets on Heroin), he gets clean and the owner of the rehab center helps the male main character get a job, get permanent housing and so I figured that I would write that after two months of being on a stable job and having stable housing, he gets his daughter back, but so should I put it at, at least four months to make it more realistic?

MatthewSteele
06-27-2018, 05:46 AM
Thanks Cornflake and thanks Matthew for your answer, so me saying it would take two months is unrealistic then? So if I put it at four months, would that make it at least realistic, because in my novel, my male character goes to rehab (because he develops a short term heroin addiction, but his daughter is taken away from him after he gets on Heroin), he gets clean and the owner of the rehab center helps the male main character get a job, get permanent housing and so I figured that I would write that after two months of being on a stable job and having stable housing, he gets his daughter back, but so should I put it at, at least four months to make it more realistic?

You actually have a reasonable timeline. The 4-6 months is about the quickest it can happen, but this is from separation of parent and child. So all the time spent getting cleaned up, getting a job, getting housing and then adding the two months on top of that would probably take somewhere between 6 months to a year.

Kid_filmmaker
06-27-2018, 06:32 AM
You actually have a reasonable timeline. The 4-6 months is about the quickest it can happen, but this is from separation of parent and child. So all the time spent getting cleaned up, getting a job, getting housing and then adding the two months on top of that would probably take somewhere between 6 months to a year.

Great, so I'll set the timeline for four months later (the four months being the time he took to get clean, and then get a job and then get housing) as being the time he gets his daughter back, thanks so much!

jclarkdawe
06-27-2018, 07:08 AM
In too many years of dealing with CPS as an attorney both for parents and children, the one rule I learned is there is no such thing as a typical case and a typical timeline. Homelessness, in and of itself, should not be grounds, but I had a client who will tell you differently. Homelessness, if that is the major issue, can be a very quick resolution or it can drag out for a few months. Druggies are never quick and require lots of monitoring. The plan is often complicated and support is an important factor.

Two months for homelessness is reasonable. Four months for a druggie from the first clean drug test is reasonable. How it is presented is going to be the important factor.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Kid_filmmaker
06-27-2018, 07:42 AM
In too many years of dealing with CPS as an attorney both for parents and children, the one rule I learned is there is no such thing as a typical case and a typical timeline. Homelessness, in and of itself, should not be grounds, but I had a client who will tell you differently. Homelessness, if that is the major issue, can be a very quick resolution or it can drag out for a few months. Druggies are never quick and require lots of monitoring. The plan is often complicated and support is an important factor.

Two months for homelessness is reasonable. Four months for a druggie from the first clean drug test is reasonable. How it is presented is going to be the important factor.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Ah, ok, well let me ask, what if CPS didn't know the father was a Heroin addict but then got clean? Like, what if the father used Heroin, got clean but the rehab owner and the father kept that information private from CPS? It would still be four months right? Or would it be less months then?

MatthewSteele
06-27-2018, 04:37 PM
Ah, ok, well let me ask, what if CPS didn't know the father was a Heroin addict but then got clean? Like, what if the father used Heroin, got clean but the rehab owner and the father kept that information private from CPS? It would still be four months right? Or would it be less months then?

I'm not sure on this one but I'm fairly certain that if the father is involved with CPS he will be screened for drugs towards the beginning of the process and throughout. Usually it's pretty obvious when someone is addicted to drugs :/

Kid_filmmaker
06-27-2018, 05:01 PM
...Ok well thanks for all your answers. :)

ironmikezero
06-27-2018, 09:39 PM
Like in most US states, CPS in Louisiana can become a bureaucratic morass, especially since court involvement is pretty much inevitable. You can craft the time factor in your story as you deem fit; but, be aware that in reality plodding progress through the system is quite protracted (think many months to years).

http://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=108

https://www.nicholls.edu/frc/louisiana-childrens-code/

Kid_filmmaker
06-27-2018, 09:57 PM
Ok so how should I write it so it makes sense in the novel? Any suggestions? Should I say:

"It took over four months of working, maintaining his home and going through legal loopholes with CPS before Jared finally got his most precious person in his life back - his daughter."

Should I write it that way? Not putting an exact time as to when he got his daughter back, but just putting it as being "over four months"?

WeaselFire
06-27-2018, 10:27 PM
In general, being homeless doesn't result in children being separated from a parent. It can hinder some options since there are more shelters for adult men or adult women than families, but it can help with any number of charities that cater to families.

The problem is that homelessness can often lead to petty crimes, alcohol abuse, drugs, prostitution, etc. These can lead to child endangerment charges, which is what will get the child separated. If you provide some sort of background like this, a child being taken would be more believable.

But, the father could surrender custody for the welfare of the child. Getting them into a stable foster care, especially very young children, can be important for both the child and the parent. In many cases, this is for a set time, six months maybe, then the parent can recover the child.

Recovering a child is never an inexpensive proposition. Court fees, lawyers, mandatory conditions and so on will need to funded. While some homeless people make a decent living, many do not. This is often what delays some of these cases. It's curious, you don't need to prove stability to have a child, only to get one back. :)

If you need a short time frame, have the child left with a friend or relative. If you need the struggle as part of the plot, let the state take them.

Jeff

ironmikezero
06-28-2018, 08:13 PM
Ok so how should I write it so it makes sense in the novel? Any suggestions? Should I say:

"It took over four months of working, maintaining his home and going through legal loopholes with CPS before Jared finally got his most precious person in his life back - his daughter."

Should I write it that way? Not putting an exact time as to when he got his daughter back, but just putting it as being "over four months"?

My sources advise that four months wouldn't do it, whereas eighteen months might - if the are no criminal violations involved. Throw in even an allegation of criminal behavior and you're looking at years for a timeline.