Experienced Representation Of Parents In Abuse And Neglect Cases
Nothing is scarier than the thought of having your children taken away from you. The government has the power to take your kids into protective custody if they suspect abuse, neglect or imminent danger.
But you have rights as a parent and your children need and deserve to have you in their life. I am defense attorney Lyndsay DeMatteo. I have handled more than 700 of these cases in my 17 years of practice. I can help you to fight removal or take the steps to get your children back.
When Child Protection Services Steps In
The Child Protection Services division (CPS) of the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) must investigate when physical, emotional or sexual abuse of a child or child neglect is suspected.
I have received calls from frantic parents when CPS is at their door, but I typically get involved after the fact when CPS has already removed their children. In either situation, I can intervene promptly to advocate for parents who find themselves in this terrifying situation.
In my experience, most cases arise from child neglect or inappropriate discipline rather than violence or other abuse. The child may be placed with another relative if DSS deems that the environment is stable and safe. Otherwise, the child may be placed in foster care.
Helping Parents Reunite With Their Children
Child removal is a civil action rather than a criminal proceeding, My role is to advocate for parents as the go-between with the Department of Social Services. I will meet with DSS right way to understand why the child or children were removed and what DSS needs to see from my client(s) before the agency will allow the parents to have contact or resume custody.
DSS may outline specific steps such as drug or alcohol treatment, drug testing, staying out of bars, attending parenting classes and maintaining employment. Behind the scenes, I communicate with parents and DSS case workers to show that you are taking the steps, making progress and committed to being a better parent.
It may take a few months or more than a year to be reunited. You can count on me to be truthful about where you stand and how long it may take and you can depend on me to fight for you and your family. Everyone, including DSS, wants a happy ending but we have to put in the work.
Criminal Charges Or Termination Of Rights
In cases involving severe abuse or egregious neglect, the district attorney may file criminal charges. I have defended parents and other family members in such cases. I have also represented parents in proceedings by DSS to terminate the rights of a parent who is absent, abusive or unfit.
Legal Support For Stressful Times
I am a tough defense lawyer and a compassionate adviser to my clients. I know it can seem like an eternity to be separated from your kids, but I am here to help you get them back in your life as soon as realistically possible. My experience with hundreds of abuse and neglect cases is your advantage. Call my Sioux Falls office today at 605-607-5171 or contact me online to arrange a free initial consultation.