Birmingham DHR Lawyer
Compassionate Legal Representation for Clients Affected by DHR Matters
In the face of legal issues arising in your family involving the Department of Human Resources, you will need an experienced and empathetic legal advocate to guide you through your situation.
The Law Office of Brad J. Latta has years of experience handling DHR-related cases and will lend an empathetic hand as he examines your legal situation and develops a personalized path for your family’s next steps.
Alabama Laws on Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect
Under Alabama law, child abuse is the harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare through acts such as:
- Non-accidental physical or mental injury
- Sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation
Child neglect is the negligent or maltreatment of a child, including:
- Failure to provide adequate food
- Improper or absence of medical treatment/care
- Inability to provide clothing
- Unfit or unsafe home environment
State Mandated Child Abuse & Neglect Reporters
The law requires that certain individuals who come in regular contact with children report signs of abuse or neglect to the Department of Human Resources (DHR). Failure to do so is a crime.
State mandated reporters include:
- Medical professionals
- Schoolteachers and officials
- Law enforcement officials
- Social workers
- Day care workers
- Members of the clergy
- Mental health professionals
What is the Alabama DHR Report Process?
- The report should be made via telephone or in-person to a chief of police or sheriff, or directly to the DHR.
- When a report is made to a law enforcement official, the official will inform the DHR so that they can provide protective services to the child or children involved.
- Certainty is not required to make such a report; all that is required is a reasonable suspicion that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect.
Note that the law requires people to follow their initial oral report with a written one, and the DHR has a written form for this process. Both oral and written reports should include the name of the child, their whereabouts, the names and addresses of the parents or guardian, and a description of the child’s condition.
Under Alabama law, all individuals reporting suspected abuse or neglect are presumed to be acting in good faith. As a result, they are, by law, immune from legal action, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be taken. This means that anyone who reports child abuse has full legal protection in the event that a parent may seek to retaliate with legal action.
What Happens if the DHR Case Goes to Court?
If the case proceeds to trial, the individual who reported the incident may or may not have to testify in court. The decision depends on several factors, such as:
- The nature and severity of the case.
- Whether court action is initiated to remove the child from the home.
- Whether the alleged party is prosecuted on a criminal charge.
Following a case, the DHR will work closely with the child and the parents or caretaker through direct counseling or referral to appropriate helping professionals or agencies. The purpose is to keep the family unit together as much as possible. However, if removal of the child from their home is necessary, the DHR will petition the court for custody and initiate plans for substitute care of the child.
In any case, though, the DHR will continue to work with the child and seek to work with the parents to prepare them for when the child may return to their home or receive continued care elsewhere.
Questions About Your DHR Case? Call for Help Today!
If you have been involved with a DHR case, whether you are reporting abuse or neglect from another parent or have been accused of such, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced legal professional for next steps immediately. The future of your family hangs in the balance of the DHR when a legal case ensues. The Law Office of Brad J. Latta has handled numerous DHR-related cases before, and he can take a look at the facts of your situation to determine your best course of legal action.
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