What is considered an unstable home for a child?

An unstable home for a child is one that involves abuse, domestic violence, neglect, substance abuse, or any general risk to the child’s health, safety, and well-being. 

In family law, when considering child arrangements, the court will look at certain factors that may determine whether a child is able to live with a parent, how much contact may be suitable, and whether this should be supervised or not. The court will base its judgment on whether the child’s basic needs are being met such as whether they are being fed, given clean water, and a safe place to live. 

Similarly, social services may become involved if a child is at risk of harm. The Children’s Act 1989 outlines that every child should be protected from factors such as abuse, neglect, exploitation, and an unsafe home environment. These are usual reasons that social services could remove a child from their home. 

Neglect: There are different types of neglect including physical, medical, educational, and emotional. For instance, if a parent fails to properly feed their children or provide sufficient clothing or shelter, this can be considered neglectful. Similarly, if a child has a mental or physical condition and is not given the correct medical assistance due to a lack of supervision or care, this can also be neglect.

Abuse: This is a common reason for social services to take children away from their homes. Abuse could include physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or violence, or substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs. Abuse may not necessarily be targeted at the child. If the home environment is abusive generally and the child witnesses this, this could result in the child being taken away.

Risk to safety: An unsafe or unstable home environment may be one that is dangerous to the child. This may include being exposed to dangerous people such as new partners with serious criminal convictions or living in a very messy and dirty house which could cause illness or neglect. On the other hand, an unsafe home could be caused as a result of a parent suffering from an illness which means they are a potential risk to the child either through violence or neglect. 

Abandonment: Leaving a child alone for long periods of time at an age when they need to be supervised and protected can also pose safety risks. 

How can GloverPriest help?

If you are having difficulties with making child arrangements or you find that you are battling for child custody, this can be a very traumatic experience. For peace of mind and advice on where you stand, it is a good idea to get legal help or speak with an expert. 

At GloverPriest, we specialise in helping families with child arrangements. For friendly and transparent advice, speak to one of our expert family lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form. 

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At GloverPriest, we understand navigating the law can be a difficult task to take on alone. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to help promote information for everyone to use.

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