A British policewoman is trying to secure the return of her 15 month-old son from foster care in New York State.
The 42 year-old was arrested in Manhattan after she reportedly left her son alone in a hotel room. The two were staying in New York City on their way back from a holiday in the Caribbean. A member of the hotel staff found the child alone in the mother’s room and called the police, who detained her. She was also accused of leaving her son alone for longer than an hour on two other occasions during her two-week stay.
The woman insisted that one of those two occasions she had only been gone for 30 minutes while she washed her baby’s bottles and on the other she had been eating breakfast nearby. In a legal statement, she claimed that “in London this behaviour of leaving a child for a short period of time is normal and acceptable”.
Although criminal charges of endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest were dropped, a local family court ruled that the boy had been neglected. He was taken into the state’s foster care system and the mother had to return to England alone.
Soon after her arrival back in the UK, she launched legal proceedings against New York State, arguing for the return of her son. He was being held hostage and had been “kidnapped in a foreign country”, her lawyer claimed.
The mother’s application seeks to have her son placed with her cousin in Bedfordshire while she fights the neglect ruling. She also claimed that her son had been placed in the care of someone who had a very different set of values from her “conservative upbringing in the Church of England”. The boy’s foster carer is an outspoken LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights activist living in the New York borough of Queens.
Chief Magistrate Judge Steven M Gold of the state’s Eastern District said that everyone involved in this dispute wants the child “in the right place as soon as possible” and urged the parties to settle the case without too much litigation.
Photo of Queens, New York by lawrence’s lenses via Flickr