July 31, 2018

Mother Who Uses Child In Shoplifting Caper Unfit to Work With Children | CHILD PROTECTION LAW UPDATE

Mother Who Uses Child in Shoplifting Caper Unfit to Work With Children

This week’s case involves Natasha,  a single mother of a five-year old, who lived with her parents, had earned an Associate's degree, and was continuing at a well-regarded four-year college to earn a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.

One day, Natasha took her son to Bloomingdale's, outfitted him and herself in clothes (with a few cellphone cases hidden in them), and was arrested for attempted shoplifting. She had no prior involvement with the criminal justice system or child welfare services. Store security detained her, and Natasha’s sister picked up the child. Store security personnel reported that the child was "not at all distraught" and was "interacting normally." The store kindly provided the child with a pair of new shoes to wear home, free of charge.

Natasha was arrested and then appeared in court. The shoplifting charge was resolved by an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, meaning she would have no criminal record. However, after a call from a police officer regarding Natasha's arrest, the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, referred the case to the local child protective agency, the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS), which conducted a two-month-long investigation to determine whether her child was at risk from the shoplifting incident and concluded that the child was placed in imminent risk of impairment, constituting maltreatment. ACS reasoned that Natasha’s "actions placed [the child] in imminent danger of physical harm because any act of theft carries the risk of a violent confrontation or arrest."  Therefore, the boy was found to be “neglected” by Natasha.

The immediate consequence to Natasha from that finding is that her name has been added to the Child Abuse Register, so that prospective employers in the occupation for which she has educated herself will be informed that she is unfit to work with children.

Here is the case: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2018/2018_04379.htm

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