Pennsylvania couple loses custody of children due to poor living conditions
A couple from Pennsylvania has been placed behind bars and lost custody of their 11 children, following authorities finding the deplorable living conditions in which they were keeping their family. Both parents received at least one year of jail time after pleading guilty to charges of child endangerment. The charges were filed against them last July, after authorities came to their residence and found that their children were living in conditions featuring traces of feces, raw meat, and other dangerous and off-putting elements throughout the home.
Child Services and local police officers initially responded to reports from neighbors that the 11 children, between the ages of two and 14, were routinely left on their own and that there was a concerning odor emanating from the home. The authorities arrived to find the home already abandoned by the family, but did identify trash cans with maggots growing inside, as well as toys and clothes which had feces on them. Other upsetting conditions included a bathtub that had been used as toilet, full of feces. Upon searching the home, authorities were unable to find any beds or furniture in the home.
Police were able to catch the family several months later, in January. By that time, more than half of the children showed symptoms of Shigella, a disease associated with exposure to feces. The children have all been placed in protective custody since that time. In a particularly heartbreaking turn, one child wrote a letter to the judge overseeing the case, asking to not be returned to his parents. The lawyer representing the mother expressed that the mother knew the conditions were harmful, and wanted to move the children out of the home, but was afraid to ask for help out of fear that she would have her children taken away.
There are so many ways that being a parent can seem overwhelming, and sometimes when things begin to get out of hand, reaching out for help to correct the situation doesn’t seem feasible. An experienced family lawyer can help get anyone struggling with these issues the support he or she needs to get back on track before it is too late.