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What are child custody issues with parents and mental illness?

In some states, parents can lose custody of their children if they suffer from mental health issues. In some cases, parents won't even seek mental health services because they fear they will lose their children if they do so. What are some issues that arise in child custody when parents deal with mental illness?

According to some studies, custody loss rates for parents with mental illness range as high as 70 to 80 percent. These studies have found the following:

- Just one-third of children with a parent who suffers from serious mental illness are being raised by the parent with the illness.

- If a parent happens to be psychiatrically hospitalized, the children are typically raised by grandparents and other relatives. Other potential placements for the children include temporary placement in foster care.

- In the state of New York, 16 percent of families involved with the foster care system and 21 percent receiving family preservation services happen to include a parent who suffers from a mental illness.

One of the biggest reasons why a parent loses custody of their children when they have mental illness is the severity of the illness. The court will also take a look at the presence of other competent adults who live in the home. If there is an absence of other competent adults in the home, the children will be taken from the parent who has a mental illness.

Losing the custody of a child for a parent can be devastating, overwhelming and stressful. This can cause them to suffer even more and could exacerbate their mental illness, causing them to struggle to get better. This could lead to the parent struggling to get their child back in their custody in the future.

If you are seeking mental health services but are scared of losing your children, an experienced family law attorney in Garden City, New York can answer your questions and defend your legal rights.

Source: Healthy Place, "Parents with mental illness and child custody issues," accessed June 02, 2017

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