For Mississippi parents who are married or living in a committed relationship, the fear of a challenge to their parental rights is often minimal. Most child custody battles come about when two parents cannot reach an agreement on the care and control of shared children. However, there are other ways that a family can lose custody of a child, some of which are hard to imagine until they become reality.
One family is currently facing such a challenge, after a video of a toddler hurling curse words and racial slurs was posted online. The result was an enormous volume of web hits, and ultimately the removal of four minors from their home. The 2-year-old boy was one of those children, as was his mother, who is just 16 years of age.
The video is hard to watch, and features the diapered tot exchanging hateful language and racial slurs with adults who are not shown on-camera. The child's mother claims that she did not take the video, and that it was a family friend who captured the footage and posted it online. The family's home has had a history of gang violence and other matters of concern to local child protective services workers.
It is unclear what role the video played in the decision to remove the child from the home. As of the time of this report, the mother, a minor herself, is not living within the same home as her child. There is no word on the identity of the other two children who were taken from the home, or their relationship to the mother and child. This case is an example of the complexities that can arise within a child custody case in Mississippi and elsewhere, and the responsibility of the state in protecting the well-being of a child while balancing a parent's right to guide the course of that child's upbringing.
Source: CNN, Swearing toddler in 'thug' video taken into protective custody, Matt Smith and Steve Almasy, Jan. 10, 2014