Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse Defense Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

According to data from the Administration for Children and Families, there were 4,817 total child maltreatment victims in Pennsylvania in 2019. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, child neglect and abuse charges are serious offenses that usually result in significant ramifications for the parent or legal guardians who harmed the child under their care. A defendant convicted of such an offense may be facing massive fines, lengthy jail time, loss of custody rights, restraining order, or possible deportation.

If you are under investigation for child neglect or abuse, it is imperative that you retain a highly skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to help build your defense. As the founding attorney of Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I'm committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and strong representation to individuals facing neglect charges, abuse charges, and other accusations involving Child Protective Services. As your legal counsel, I will investigate every last detail of your case and outline an effective defense strategy in pursuit of the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

My firm proudly represents clients across Pittsburgh, O'Hara Township, Shaler Township, Aspinwall, and Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.

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What are DNA Actions?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, "Dependent, Neglected, or Abused" (DNA) actions comprise of cases involving child abuse or child neglect petitioned in family courts across the state. The purpose of a DNA action is to provide adequate protection and care for a child who may be at risk for abuse or neglect, including sexual victimization and physical or emotional neglect.

What Does CPS Do When They Receive a Claim of DNA?

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) or Child Protective Services will get involved with a family when someone makes a report of possible neglect or abuse to the state's child abuse hotline. Such reports can be made by anyone, including a family member, neighbor, child care worker, teacher, or doctor.

Upon receiving a report, the DHS officials will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine:

  • Whether the report is true
  • Whether everything is okay with the family
  • Whether the child is currently safe at their home
  • Whether the family needs help to care for the child properly.

During this period, the child may be removed from your home temporarily. If the investigation yields substantial evidence that the child faces present and immediate threats in your home, the removal may be extended. In the event that your child is removed from your home, you need to make reasonable efforts to get him or her back.

How Do I Get My Child Back?

Child Protective Services in Pennsylvania is only allowed to remove children from their homes under specific circumstances. Your available option to get your child back include:

  • Advocate for your child to be placed in a kinship care relationship, such as with a grandparent, close friend, uncle or aunt, or cousin.
  • Appeal the decision of the CPS to remove your child from your home. You will be required to attend a disposition hearing or dependency/adjudication hearing.
  • Also, you can work with CPS to craft a feasible family service plan (FSP) which will help improve your home environment and your relationship with your child.

An experienced attorney can review your unique situation, enlighten you about the potential consequences, and determine the best way to get your child back.

Possible Criminal Penalties

If convicted, the possible criminal penalties for endangering the welfare of a child (child abuse) in Pennsylvania include:

Child Endangerment or Child Abuse: This is a first-degree misdemeanor, and it is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Failure to Report or False Reporting

  • First Offense: This is a third-degree misdemeanor, and it is punishable by 6 months to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: This is a second-degree misdemeanor, and it is punishable by 1 to 2 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

A skilled attorney can evaluate all the facts of your case and fight diligently to advocate for your legal rights.

Work With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Trying to defend your child neglect or abuse allegations may expose you to the risks of suffering the maximum punishment. If convicted, you could face a lengthy prison sentence, huge fines, a protective order, loss of parenting privileges, possible deportation, and other devastating, life-long consequences. Hiring an aggressive criminal defense attorney is crucial to protect your rights.

At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire, and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I have the resources and experience to represent clients in their domestic violence cases, including child abuse and neglect. As your legal counsel, I will evaluate your case and determine the best defense strategy that fits your unique situation. Using my extensive understanding of Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services laws, I will help you navigate the often complex legal proceedings.

Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse Defense Attorney Serving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you're facing dependency, neglect, and abuse charges, don't face them alone. Contact my firm —Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C.—to schedule a simple case assessment. I can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel, strong advocacy, and vigorous representation you need in your case. My firm is proud to represent clients across Pittsburgh, O'Hara Township, Shaler Township, Aspinwall, and Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.