Q: CYF made us sign safety plan and our baby is home. Can they say the safety plan is gone based on criminal no contact order? Cops were called and told us last time they would call CYF if they were called again (stupid fights never violent). Our baby was never in any danger. This incident they arrested both of us, but he is STILL in jail on a non-violent probation violation. His “violation” is the new Simple Assault charge. There was automatic court ordered no contact order and after 60 days they checked our home, and he said he doesn’t really see why CYF is involved, etc. He said the safety plan was “over” yet it isn’t a closed CYF case. He said it was over and seemed to hint that is based upon the “no contact order” the court put against my boyfriend, so he couldn’t contact me. We are getting married when he gets out, we are a FAMILY and I want to know if CYF is legally allowed to base a safety plan or decisions about it on the sole fact of the no contact order that has nothing to do with CYF. Please help? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If you are asking if CYF can put a safety plan in the home because of a criminal court no contact order, my answer would be yes. CYF can act based on the threat of harm to a child in the home. Domestic violence is such a threat. A no contact order will help keep the child in the home, but if CYF believes it is not being followed they can remove the child for safety concerns. I would follow the no contact order and cooperate with CYF to keep my child. A child witnessing even “stupid fights…” between parents can be harmful to the child’s development and mental well-being. My advice would be for the father to complete anger management and both of you complete parenting. This will give CYF added assurance that this will not happen again, and the child is safe. I advise you to get counsel. If you cannot afford counsel, call the Allegheny County Juvenile Court Project and sign up for a parent advocate. They are good attorneys and will give you proper advice.