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Petito & Petito, LLP

Child Abuse and Neglect in Poughkeepsie, NY

Our Poughkeepsie Child Neglect Attorneys Can Help Defend Your Parental Rights

New York family law courts try to keep children with their parents or legal guardians whenever possible. In extreme situations, however, judges may be forced to award child custody to someone other than the parents. The courts take allegations of child abuse and neglect extremely seriously, so if you are a parent or legal guardian who has been accused of these crimes, you will need a Poughkeepsie child neglect lawyer to help you defend your rights and maintain custody of your children.

Becoming the subject of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation is every parent’s worst nightmare. If someone tries to take your kids away, do not hesitate to contact Petito & Petito, LLP. 

We have been keeping families together since 1975, and we can start helping your family as soon as you call us at (845) 400-9602.

  • We're A Family Firm
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  • Almost 60 Years of Experience
  • Thousands of Satisfied Clients

What Is Child Abuse and Neglect?

According to the City of New York, child abuse and neglect is “the act, or failure to act, by any parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child under the age of 18.”

Child abuse occurs when a parent or caretaker intentionally harms or allows someone to harm their child. Abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional. 

Examples of child abuse include:

  • Shaking, beating, biting, kicking, punching, and burning
  • Rape and incest
  • Penetration and fondling
  • Pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts
  • Exposing a child to sexual activities
  • Name-calling, shaming, and threatening
  • Humiliation and extreme criticism
  • Rejection and withholding love

Child neglect occurs when a parent or caretaker fails to provide their child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm.

Examples of child neglect include:

  • Failing to meet a child’s educational needs by keeping them out of school (without homeschooling them).
  • Leaving children who cannot take care of themselves alone
  • Leaving children with people who cannot care for them
  • Exposing a child to family violence
  • Excessive drug and alcohol use
  • Failing to provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter

Both child abuse and neglect are forms of child maltreatment, which New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services explains as:

Maltreatment refers to the quality of care a child is receiving from those responsible for the child.”

Sadly, many parents face allegations of child abuse and neglect in Poughkeepsie, NY when they are simply doing the best they can for their child.

What Happens If I Am Accused of Child Abuse or Neglect?

In New York State, the local Department of Social Services or New York City's Administration for Children Services investigates every alleged case of child abuse or neglect. If the child is in imminent danger, the protective agency may remove the child from the home with or without assistance from local police.

Whether or not the child is removed from the home, the parent or guardian will become the respondent in a petition for neglect and/or abuse. The court will appoint an Attorney for the Child, and the parent or guardian should seek their own legal counsel, as well.

If the child was removed from the home, a 1027 or Intake Hearing will be held the very next day. Because 1027s only take place in emergency situations, they may be held without a parent or guardian present. Intake hearings place the case in the court’s jurisdiction and allow the child to be placed into state custody. The judge may also authorize the child’s medical treatment, if necessary.

After a 1027, the parent or guardian can ask to have the child returned to their care in a 1028 hearing. Usually, the court holds 1028 hearings within 3 days of removal, and the parent or guardian should appear with an attorney. 

All parties will also attend a fact-finding hearing to determine whether the child has been neglected or abused. 

This hearing is your chance to present your case, and you should not do so without a Poughkeepsie child neglect lawyer on your side. 


Parents who are accused of child abuse or neglect in Poughkeepsie, NY may find themselves facing a difficult situation. They could be the subject of an investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS) and have their children taken away from them. In these cases, it is essential to seek out legal counsel from a family law attorney in Poughkeepsie as soon as possible. A qualified lawyer can help parents defend their parental rights and protect the best interests of their children throughout the process.

When facing family court in Poughkeepsie, NY, a lawyer experienced in family law can:

  • Advise parents on their rights and options in child abuse or neglect cases
  • Represent parents during hearings, investigation proceedings, interviews, and court appearances
  • Negotiate with opposing parties to ensure parent’s custody rights are respected
  • Consult with expert witnesses such as psychologists and social workers to support the case
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to defend parental rights throughout all phases of family law proceedings
  • Work with CPS services and other agencies involved in the case
  • Advocate for the best interests of both parents and children
  • Assist in negotiations regarding parenting plans, visitation arrangements, custody agreements, etc.
  • File motions when necessary to protect parental rights (e.g., stay away orders)
  • Offer guidance throughout any appeals process

A family court judge will consider all evidence presented at a fact-finding hearing to determine whether or not a parent has been negligent or abusive, so having experienced legal representation is key for any parent looking to maintain custody of their children.

Get Experience On Your Side

Can My Family Recover from Allegations of Abuse or Neglect?

Yes. Many allegations of child abuse and neglect come from well-meaning citizens who do not understand your family’s unique situation. Crucially, child neglect allegations are only valid when a parent is financially able to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care and fails to do so regardless.

If you are having trouble providing for your family, a CPS investigation could simply result in a caseworker helping you and your children access important resources. Still, you will need help presenting your case.

Petito & Petito, LLP would be proud to help you tell your side of the story. We have almost 60 years of combined experience and have tried cases in front of all family court judges in Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County, NY.

We will work with you to help protect your family and find a solution that works for all parties, but we are not afraid of being aggressive when the need arises.

Let us help you keep your family together.

Call us at (845) 400-9602 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. 

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