Young Lives Left in Limbo as Abuse Cases Stall

Publication: The Columbus Dispatch

Author: Alayna DeMartini

10/30/2006 - A few months can feel like a year to a child who has moved in with a relative or foster family because his parent is accused of abuse or neglect.Then add another year or more before the case is settled or goes to trial. The child remains in limbo, not knowing whether he’ll return home or be adopted.

In such cases, the children "don’t know who they are," said child-welfare advocate Crystal Allen.

They wonder, "Am I the daughter of my former mom or am I going to be the daughter of my foster mom?" Allen said. "It’s very, very disruptive."

Allen knows how painful the wait can be. She is director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, which represents the state’s child-welfare agencies.

Despite a 1989 state law requiring that abuse and neglect cases be resolved within three months, one third of the Franklin County cases take longer than that, according to Domestic Relations/Juvenile Court statistics. Some take years.

Read the full article at the Columbus Dispatch's Web site.

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