By: Leslie A. Satterlee and Markus Risinger Custody battles always involve heartbreak and they are never an easy process for anyone involved. However, imagine going through a custody battle across international borders. For example: Maria and Jeff got married and settled in Scottsdale. They then had three beautiful children. However, after 15 [...]
Arizona Department of Child Safety’s (DCS) director, Mike Faust, has issued a handful statements on the COVID-19 pandemic. As recently as April 10, 2020, DCS was not allowing in-person visitation to occur between a parent and their child in DCS custody.
Since COVID-19 forced schools to close, reports of child abuse in Arizona have decreased by about twenty-five percent (25%). At first, this seems like one of the few silver linings of the pandemic (outside of Tiger King and attending business meetings without having to wear pants). However, after 20 years of litigating child abuse and neglect cases, I don’t believe this statistic is cause for celebration.
Imagine you are a juror in a case involving infant abuse. The treating physician testifies that, when the infant arrived in the hospital, she was covered with large bruises. The doctor then states, “The family was awkward, and the father was visibly irritated.” The family also offered no explanation for the infant’s condition. After accurately informing you that accidental bruising is exceedingly rare in infants, the doctor concludes the infant’s bruising is consistent with trauma caused by a severe beating. He adds: “I see this sort of thing every day, and it’s heartbreaking.”
The Boston Globe recently published an important article analyzing every state's compliance with Federal Child Abuse and Treatment Act of 1974 ("CAPTA"). Shockingly, the article concludes that no State is fully compliant with CAPTA's requirements. However, Arizonian's should be especially concerned because Arizona was the ONLY State that refused to share information regarding its CAPTA compliance, calling it "a time consuming, lengthy, non-value added survey."