Court: Child's Objection Alone Cannot Block Reunification
The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that a child’s refusal to take part in counseling cannot by itself prevent the reunification of a family in the child welfare system.
The ruling overturns a Maricopa County judge’s decision to terminate a woman’s parental rights to her 11-year-old son, who had been abused by the woman’s now-former husband.
The woman had completed psychological evaluations, drug treatment and other programs, but the son refused to take part in family counseling, contending his mother could not keep him safe from abuse.
A case manager said that meant the woman was not able to remedy the circumstances that caused the son to be removed from the home. The appeals court, however, said the son’s objection was not enough to override the mother’s parental rights.