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Mother of Malnourished Child Arraigned in Child Custody Case

The foster parents of a malnourished seven-month-old child released pictures that show that the infant is gaining weight and looking healthy. The mother had her child taken from her custody last month by state authorities after she absconded with the child after a well-being check by the Department of Child Protective Services.

Jessica McCreery, 21, appeared last week in court to discuss the status of her child custody case. The judge ruled that her baby, Penelope, was malnourished and underweight. As a result, the child would remain in state custody until the investigation into the family’s whereabouts was completed. However, Ms. McCreery’s parents are allowed supervised visits with the baby.

A representative for Ms. McCreery’s parents says that they are doing everything possible to try and get the baby returned to the family. The father got a job as a professional poker player and the mother is working as a waitress to try and make the home suitable for the child.

Beginning of Child Custody Case

The entire case began when an anonymous tip came into the Department of Child Protective Services saying that baby Penelope might not be properly taken care of. The department reviewed pictures of the child that showed her malnourished and needing medical attention. A social worker for the department came to do a well-being check at the house on May 5, 2015. At the meeting, Ms. McCreery refused to take her child to see a doctor.

Soon afterwards, a representative from CPS came to remove the child from Ms. McCreery’s custody, but the mother and child had vanished. Not only that, but there were no signs that a child had ever lived there. Police issued a statewide search and alerted authorities outside of the state to help track them down. When the police checked the home, they discovered marijuana plants being illegally grown and arrested the baby’s father for drug and child neglect charges. Ms. McCreery was eventually discovered and her baby was removed from her custody, but she is not facing any drug charges.

Removing a Child from Custody

Florida law allows a representative from the state to remove a child from their parents’ custody if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. Typically, this occurs when the state suspects some level of abuse, neglect, or exploitation happening in the home. The child remains outside of the custody of the parent, either in foster care or the care of the state, until the family law court determines that the home is suitable for the child to return. This process can take weeks or months to fully resolve.

Contact Our Office Today

If you or someone that you know is facing a child custody issue in the Orlando area, the experienced office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. can help. Call the office or contact us today for a confidential and free review of your case.

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