You may have seen the cursing toddler viral video of a two-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, toddler repeating curse words as a group of adults teach him and cheer him on. The video was released by the Omaha Police Department, ostensibly as a way of drawing attention to some of the problems the city faces. The video sparked outrage, directed at both the police for releasing the video, and the boy’s mother for putting her son into that environment. Some people even accused the 17-year-old mother of child endangerment, and demanded that the state forcibly remove the child from the mother’s custody.
The mother did not make matters any better when she defended her son and herself from critics, stating that she was out of the room when filming occurred and that her son does not normally talk that way. However, an Omaha juvenile court judge ruled that the mother can maintain custody of her son, and both mother and son would be placed with the same foster family. After the video went viral, the mother and son were both removed from their home and placed in child protective custody. Their removal actually had very little to do with the video. Authorities said adults in the household “repeatedly allowed known gang members into their home.” At one point the state even tried to help relocate the family out of Omaha.
Child Endangerment Can Lead to Parents Losing Children
The state can take a child from his parents if it determines that the child has been severely neglected or abused. This can take many forms, such as ignoring a child’s medical needs, allowing him to become obese, expressing extreme disinterest in the child, or inflicting severe emotional damage to the child. In this case, the mother allowed her child to have continual contact with adults who clearly were not interested in the child’s well-being, and actively inflicted emotional harm on him. The judge apparently determined that the mother was more a victim than victimizer, and therefore should not lose custody of her son.
There are other factors that often lead to parents losing custody of their children. One is abandonment, in which the parent or parents simply leave the child on the street, with a relative, or with a foster family. Along the same lines, parents who fail to support or maintain contact with their children can lose custody. Parents who suffer from long-term mental illness or addiction can have their children removed from the home if the state determines that such action is in the best interests of the children. Long-term incarceration can lead to loss of custody, for obvious reasons. Finally, failure to follow the directives of child services can result in a loss of custody.