Being arrested in front of your children may cause trauma and long term harm. Many law enforcement and child welfare agencies do not have clear policies on post-arrest treatment of children. It is critical you act respectfully and put your child’s welfare above your own.
First and foremost, if children are in your care upon arrest, make the officers aware of their names, ages, and location. If you do not identify the minors and work with law enforcement to protect them, you may face further charges of child neglect. If police are aware there may be children in your care prior to your arrest, they may already have Child Protective Services standing by to assist.
Depending on the age of the children, police officers may choose to take minors into temporary custody until a suitable guardian is contacted. If another parent isn’t able to care for your child, a relative or appropriate caregiver will be contacted. When those options don’t exist, children are transported to a local children’s shelter and assigned to a Child Protective Services worker.
If your child was involved in the offense for which you were arrested, they may also be detained, depending on their age or participation level. This accomplice may be taken to a juvenile detention center, where they will have a right to an attorney if the case is brought to court.
Your chance to see, or regain rights of, your child will depend on a variety of factors, including: your ability to make bail, the type of charges you face, your criminal record, the age of your child, and if your child was present at the scene of your alleged crime. Decisions made in child welfare cases are based on the best outcome for children.