It’s often said that the best family law attorneys are jacks-of-all-trades. They have to deal with contract law when drafting prenuptial agreements. They must be familiar with estate planning real estate law for divorces. Child endangerment charges and disputes about custody with the Department of Child and Family Services also require specialized knowledge.
Kystal Rushing’s lawyer, however, is going to have to be a Supreme Court justice to handle all of her legal issues.
Back in September, Rushing, a 22-year-old mother, was arrested after her two-year-old opened the door and wandered out of the house. Officers found the child wandering in the street blocks away the family's home on Fern Street in Rosewood Heights. When they arrived at the house, the child's mother was outside looking for her the missing toddler.
Unfortunately, that meant her other child, a one-year-old, was unattended, reports KMOV.
Kind of a catch-22, isn't it? You have to go find one kid, as they are wandering in the street. Then again, you have another one in the house. One might argue that the police overreacted by arresting her and charging her with two counts of child endangerment.
Sympathy be damned. On October 12, it happened again. According to KMOV, this time, the children's father was at home asleep. A witness noticed the child in the street and alerted authorites. The child reportedly pointed to her mother's home and said "mommy," which led police to the sleeping father and, once again, an unattended one-year-old.
While the officers were investigating, they were notified of an intoxicated driver in the area. Fortunately, they didn't have to go far, as Krystal Rushing pulled in to the driveway. Officers determined that she seemed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and arrested her after she failed a field sobriety test. They also determined that she had a suspended license and no proof of insurance, which means the DUI charge will be a felony.
Did we mention that in both arrests, officers reportedly found cannabis on her person or in her car? The officers also found a home in poor condition that smelt strongly of urine. DCFS placed the children in protective custody.
When there are reports of child neglect, the Illinois DCFS will conduct an investigation to determine if the home is suitable and the parents are capable of raising the children. The DCFS will talk to the parents, the family, and gather other information (like a history of DUIs or child endangerment) to determine if it is safe to leave the child at home.
The primary mission of DCFS is to protect children. There is a strong preference, however, for helping parents to change and to create a safe environment for the children at home. On the other hand, if it is shown that a parent cannot reform or will always be a danger to a child, drastic action up to and including permanent removal of the children, is a possibility.
- Consult a Chicago Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
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- ACLU Forces DCFS to Reduce Caseloads, Add More Staff (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)
- Will Budget Cuts to DCFS Put Even More Children in Danger? (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)