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Toddler’s Death Leads to Foster Care Reform Efforts in Maryland

Last year, a toddler from Frederick, Maryland named Anayah Williams died after her father allegedly beat her. She had previously been in the care of a foster home, but federal law required that state social services agencies do everything they can to reunite families.

Had Anayah not been returned home, she would still be alive today. And now the Maryland General Assembly is taking steps at reforming foster care laws to prevent other children from ever having to be returned home to where there is a likelihood of abuse.

There had been demonstrated incidents of abuse in the Williams home even before Anayah was returned home. However, loopholes in the law forced Social Services to send the child back to her biological parents, even though it was against the agency’s wishes. The new bill, which has been dubbed Anayah’s Law, would remove a stipulation in the law that requires abuse to be “chronic” for the state to keep custody over the child. The problem with that language was that the definition of “chronic” abuse is rather hazy. Now, the presence of any abuse at all could allow the state to keep the child in its custody.

The father has been charged with first-degree murder, as well as other charges of assault and child abuse. The mother is also accused of child abuse, as well as failing to get any help for her daughter. Williams pleaded not guilty to his charges and will go on trial.

If you believe the parent in custody of your children or grandchildren has been abusive, meet with the compassionate Maryland child custody attorneys at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. for the strong legal representation you need during a challenging time. 

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