One of the most deeply held rights that Americans parents enjoy is the freedom to make decisions about how their children will be raised. However, there are circumstances under which parenting decisions can be called into question. One couple is currently fighting serious criminal charges related to the death of their daughter, and have given up custody of their remaining six children. Parents in Louisiana and across the nation will follow this case, as the outcome could impact parental rights for all Americans.
The case centers on the death of a 2-year-old girl whose parents refused to seek medical treatment when the toddler developed pneumonia. A simple course of antibiotics would have very likely save the child’s life. However, the parents are members of a religious sect that preaches against the use of medical care.
Both parents have now been charged with involuntary manslaughter, as well as endangering the welfare of a child. As they prepare to defend themselves in that matter, the couple voluntarily allowed custody of their six surviving children to transfer to their state’s child protective services department. The children will remain together, and the family providing their care will ensure that they receive any necessary medical treatment.
As this case moves forward, the couple will likely place their initial focus on fighting the serious criminal charges against them. Once that matter is concluded, they may seek the return of their children. The case is far from a simple matter, and the outcome could have an impact on the rights of families in Louisiana and elsewhere to make parenting decisions on behalf of their children.
Source: readingeagle.com, “Berks couple charged in daughter’s death will give up custody of other six children”, Stephanie Weaver, Feb. 16, 2017