Parents from Westerville and other parts of the state went to Columbus this past week to lobby lawmakers to revisit the issue of child custody relinquishment. They told them how they were forced to give up their special needs kids after letting state officials that they were unable to pay for their treatment.

One father recounted how his son frequently experienced violent outbursts requiring treatment when he previously lived with him. He couldn’t afford the necessary treatment to cover behavioral therapy for his son so the state assumed custody of him.

That dad was joined at the statehouse by other parents that have faced the same fate. Each of them lacked health insurance or had limited financial resources. The state gave them the option. They ordered them to either get this child developmental or mental health therapy or else they were taking their kids from them.

The one boy’s father took advantage of his opportunity to speak to senators to propose House Bill (HB) 166. A passing of the bill would result in the infusion of an additional $18 million in state funds into programs that aid multi-system youth over the next two years.

Governor Mike DeWine previously proposed to give the Family and Children First Councils $25 million each fiscal year to coordinate multi-system youth services. Parent advocates note that they fear that all the money that was previously allocated would only provide for room and board for children already in state custody.

They hope that the additional $18 million that’s been requested can go to keeping their kids who aren’t yet in state custody under their own parents’ care.

These organizations told legislators that they intend to determine how many moms and dads have lost their children because they couldn’t afford their treatment. It’s unclear when the senators will make a decision about this matter.

There are many instances in which a state may assume custody of a child. They may do this in cases of abuse of neglect or if a parent relinquishes their parental rights. This may also occur if they a mother and father pre-decease their child and haven’t appointed a guardian or if there’s no next of kin.

A child custody attorney can aid you in explaining to a judge why it’s best for your child to keep living with you instead of becoming a ward of the state.