When the Court Fail to Protect Children

The Courts are supposed to protect the interests of children, but often fail at their task, either because they don’t take the time to pay attention or even give a fair hearing.

Here is one example. A few years ago, a young Ethiopian mother of a six-month old child experienced trouble in her marriage. She lived with her husband, who wanted her out of the house. He tried asking. She refused. He moved out and cut off the water. She had it turned back on. He turned off the electricity. Finally, he cut off the heat to the house in December. The mother and her six-month old child were forced to live in a house without heat. They had no place else to go.

The mother filed an emergency petition with the Montgomery County Circuit Court asking the Court to order the husband to turn the heat back on.

The Court denied the request without even granting a hearing. “Not an emergency.”

How can a six-month old child living in a house without heat in winter not be considered an emergency? Was the Court looking out for the interests of the child?

Eventually, mother and child moved on to better surroundings, but not without having to endure risks to their health that they should not have had to bear if the Court ha d been doing its job.