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Posted on in Child Custody

Lombard family law attorneyIn most divorce proceedings, parents are encouraged to develop a workable parenting plan that outlines each party’s rights and responsibilities regarding their children. A parenting plan specifies how significant decisions regarding the child’s life will be made as well as a parenting time schedule. Your parenting time—sometimes referred to as physical custody of a child—is more than a right or a privilege; it is a responsibility. If you fail to safeguard your child or you leave them alone for too long during your scheduled parenting time, you will be deemed to have abandoned them, and you could lose your parental rights as a result.

Physical Abandonment

Child abandonment is defined in Illinois as any time that someone having physical custody or control of a child under age 13 “knowingly leaves that child” without supervision, or in the supervision of someone “irresponsible” (or underaged) for 24 hours or more. It implies a negligent or reckless disregard for that child’s safety, and it is a criminal offense in Illinois, carrying a sentence that can vary between probation and three years in prison, plus a $25,000 fine. If the abandonment leads to the child being injured or otherwise harmed, the parent may lose parental rights.

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safe haven, child concerns, Lombard adoption attorneysIn a scene that is all too familiar in the Chicago area, a newborn baby girl was found in critical condition earlier this week, abandoned just a few hundred feet from a North Side hospital, a designated Safe Haven under Illinois law. Police officials indicate that the infant was alive when she was found but, despite being rushed to the hospital, did not survive. What makes the story even more heartbreaking is that the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office found that the girl was severely beaten and that her death has been ruled a homicide by "multiple blunt force trauma."

So Close to Available Help

According to reports, the baby was discovered by man walking toward a nearby apartment complex. He picked up the child and alerted security guards, who notified the police. When responders arrived, the child was alive but in critical condition. A source close to the investigation said the girl was in a patch of grass near a dumpster, with evidence of "embryonic" fluid close by. The patch of grass is situated between Weiss Memorial Hospital and Uplift High School. A few steps more, and the child could have been left safely and legally with hospital staff, rather than being left to suffer and die in the cold.

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Posted on in Children

Adoption in Illinois, Lombard Family Law Attorney, Safe Haven LawIt is easy to understand how an expectant mother may feel overwhelmed by her circumstances. Social, family, and financial pressures as well as internal insecurities can all certainly contribute to her feeling that she may be unprepared and unable to properly care for a child. Since 2001, more than 70 infants have been illegally abandoned in Illinois, many presumably by mothers struggling to deal with the challenges of raising a baby. However, in the same time period more than 100 infants have been legally relinquished at designated Illinois locations, allowing them the opportunity to be placed with foster families or couples seeking adoption.

The Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act was enacted in 2001 to provide a safe and legal alternative for parents who may feel they have no other options. Commonly known as a Safe Haven Law, the legislation identifies hospitals, emergency facilities, police stations, and staffed fire stations as "safe havens" at which an infant under 30 days old may be relinquished without the threat of abandonment charges. The relinquishing parents are encouraged but not required to provide medical and family information, or they may choose to do so at a later time or by mail in order to maintain a level of anonymity. The baby is then taken to an appropriate medical facility for an exam and any needed care, and, in most cases, placed with or adopted by a loving family almost immediately.

Although the Safe Haven Law has been in place for more than 13 years, many residents seem to be unaware of its existence. Dawn Geras, creator of the Chicago-based Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, was instrumental in the creation of the law and remains active in her efforts to educate the general public. In addition to notification signs at legally designated safe haven buildings, the organization offers posters, brochures, and school based educational materials so that those most likely to need the protection offered by the law have the information they need.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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