What are DNA Actions?
In the state of Kentucky, cases that involve child abuse petitioned in family court are referred to as "Dependent, Neglected, or Abused" (DNA) actions. The majority of these child abuse cases fall under the following categories:
- Neglect: Failure of the parent, guardian, or custodian to take proper care of the child
- Abuse: A situation in which the parent, guardian, or custodian injures the child physically or emotionally or allows a third party to injure the child physically or emotionally
The aim of the DNA action is to protect and care for the child.
What Does CPS Do?
Once an act of child neglect or abuse is reported to law enforcement or Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Child Protective Services from the county office will investigate the case. The caseworker will visit the child and his or her family and try to determine whether the child was neglected or abused and identify the responsible party.
What Happens if Claim is Substantiated?
If CPS finds "substantiated" claims of abuse or neglect, the officials may recommend to the Kentucky court that the family participate in services depending on the cabinet's discretion.
How Do I Get My Child Back?
After a child is removed due to substantiated claims of abuse or neglect, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will need to establish some kind of visitation schedule between the parents and the child. Once the abused and neglected child has been treated, he or she may be reunited with his or her family. The child's parents will cover the treatment cost. However, the cabinet may choose to:
- Terminate the parents' rights
- File criminal charges against the parent who harmed the child
- Pursue another permanent plan for the child
Possible Criminal Penalties
In Kentucky, child abuse and neglect are serious crimes that can be punished under other laws. It is possible to have a DNA case for the child, as well as criminal charges against the parent who harmed the child.
Penalties for Child Abuse in Kentucky
Possible criminal penalties for child abuse include:
- Third Degree: This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a sentence of not more than 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500
- Second Degree: This is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years imprisonment and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000
- First Degree: This is a Class C felony, punishable by five to 10 years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000
Work With an Experienced Attorney
Trying to defend yourself in your abuse or neglect allegations may increase your possibility of being convicted and receiving the maximum punishment. If convicted, you could be facing lengthy jail time, substantial fines, deportation, a restraining order, and loss of custody rights or parenting privileges. Therefore, when facing dependency, neglected, and abused charges, having the right legal defense strategy that fits your unique situation is paramount to protect your rights.
At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals accused of domestic violence, including child neglect and abuse. We will review the facts surrounding your situation, conduct a comprehensive investigation, and strategize an effective defense for your case. Our team will fight aggressively to defend your rights and refute the charges against you with overwhelming evidence.