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State Seizes Child Of Sex Offender Father/Drug Abuser Mother

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
dismissed a Federal civil rights complaint filed by Melissa Wolfhawk
against Schuylkill County Children and Youth Services for seizure of her
newborn child. Wolfhawk claimed that the agency violated her due process
rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for seizing
her newborn child, allegedly because her husband had a history of sex
offenses and because of her own history of drug abuse.

Subsequent to this Federal case, the agency filed a State court action
seeking immediate custody of the newborn child, claiming that the child
was "at risk of imminent danger of physical and/or emotional injury" due
to the father's past history of sex offenses with other children and his
own children, and the mother's past drug abuse history. The Federal Court
dismissed Wolfhawk's civil rights action, holding that the State court
proceedings implicated important State interests (protection of the
newborn child). The Court further held that there was nothing conscious-
shocking about asking the State to determine whether the newborn should be
removed from the birth mother and father. The agency was granted custody
of the newborn child and a subsequent State court dependency hearing was
held. See: Wolfhawk v. Schuylkill County Children & Youth Services. Case
No. 3:CV-05-1984 (W.D. Penn. 2005).

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Related legal case

Wolfhawk v. Schuylkill County Children & Youth Ser