Parents must ensure their children’s safety, but you may not be with them all the time after a divorce or separation. In some cases, you might develop concerns about your child’s well-being when they spend time with the other parent.
If you worry about your coparent’s ability to provide a safe environment, you can take steps to protect your child’s best interests.
Know the signs of a problem
You may notice that your child’s behavior changes after spending time in the other household. Look for sudden shifts that do not have another explanation like starting a new school. Common signs of an issue include withdrawal, aggression and fearfulness. Your child may also become reluctant to spend time with the other parent.
Be vigilant about unexplained injuries your child has when returning from the other parent’s custody. Document bruises, bumps and scrapes with photos or videos.
If your child has difficulty communicating about their experiences with the other parent, it could be a red flag. Encourage open communication and pay attention to any hesitancy or fear in their expressions.
Take note of instances where your child appears neglected or experiences inadequate supervision during their time with the other parent. Lack of proper care can raise serious concerns about their safety.
Watch for signs of emotional distress, such as anxiety or depression, that may emerge as a result of interactions with the other parent. Do not ignore drastic changes in mood or demeanor.
Seek professional help
If you have serious concerns about your child’s safety, consider involving professionals such as teachers, counselors or healthcare providers. These individuals may observe signs that can help assess your child’s overall well-being of your child.
Keep a detailed record of any concerning incidents including dates, times and descriptions. Documentation can be valuable if you need to address the issue in the court system.
Seek medical care right away for more serious concerns. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if they experience frequent injuries with inconsistent explanations.
More than 4.600 children in the state experienced abuse or neglect in 2021 alone. If you believe your child is in immediate danger, contact Child Protective Services in Pennsylvania. They will investigate allegations of abuse or neglect and take necessary actions.