When a parent is unable to provide for the care of their child, family members often step in to help. This is true for families across the nation, and a great many children are raised by loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family members. In a recent case, two caregivers from the same Louisiana family have been charged with a crime in connection to the alleged abuse of a minor child.
The matter originated with a custody dispute between the child's mother and the family of the child's father. The father was incarcerated in 2014, and the child was in the care of her paternal grandmother and aunt at that time. A court had placed the child into the care of the paternal aunt, who was given sole custody of the minor. However, that decision was overturned on appeal, and the child was ordered to be returned to the mother.
The mother alleges that the court-ordered transfer of custody never took place, and that the paternal grandmother and aunt intentionally kept the child away from the mother until police were called regarding the matter. A week into the investigation, the child was located at the home of the paternal aunt. Officers noted serious health issues, and the child was evaluated at a local hospital.
The minor child was noted to have suffered from multiple fractured bones, organ failure due to starvation and burns. As a result, both women were arrested for cruelty to a minor and kidnapping. It is unclear whether the investigation into the matter has been completed.
Louisiana cases in which a child has been subjected to abuse are difficult and distressing. While there is never any excuse for the mistreatment of a child, it is important to keep in mind that not all allegations of abuse are proved to be justified. When a child has been harmed, there are a multitude of ways that such harm might have taken place, and the primary caregivers are not always responsible. In this case, there is clearly a lack of trust between the biological mother and the paternal family, and that discord may be playing a role in the accusation of abuse that led to family members being charged with a crime.
Source: wafb.com, "Grandmother, aunt arrested in child abuse case", Sam Winstrom, June 24, 2015