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New law will help enforce child's best interest in child custody

The issue of child custody in a divorce or separation is often complex and charged with emotion. When a child welfare caseworkers are involved, their reports and recommendations can weigh heavily in the court's decision on child custody arrangements.

In Colorado, however, it has been revealed that child welfare workers may make mistakes that can lead to serious consequences for the children involved. It is reported that at least 100 children have died over the past five years, despite having been assigned a state welfare caseworker.

Recently, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect, will ensure that caseworkers consider the best interests of the child when making decisions and recommendations in child custody cases, and will ensure the proper response to reports of abuse or neglect. The child's best interest will be a requirement in court decisions about child custody as well.

The bill will make it easier to report suspected abuse or neglect by establishing a hotline. The intention is to give the entire child welfare system an overhaul that will make the lives of children safer and more secure.

If child welfare officials have been involved with a family, it is essential that their recommendations made to the court in a child custody case are appropriate and in the best interests of the child. When determining custody, visitation, and a parenting plan, these recommendations will be taken into consideration by the court, so it is of vital importance that they do not contain misinformation, errors or unjustified conclusions.

If child welfare officials have been involved with your family, you need to understand how their recommendations will affect your child custody case and parenting plan. It may be necessary to consult an attorney when drawing up a custody agreement or when custody is in dispute.

Source: KDVR-TV, "Hickenlooper signs child protection reforms into law," Eli Stokols, May 14, 2013

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