Boulder, CO, August 04, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- A new legal, self-help product hits the market today that aims to give parents peace of mind around the common worry of what would happen to their kids if something happens to them.
The Children’s Emergency Response Plan, CHERP™, is an emergency response action plan designed by mother, estate planning attorney, and lecturer, Martha Hartney, Esq of Colorado. Ms. Hartney, a mom of two sons, has been developing emergency plans for parents and teaching other estate planning attorneys about the importance of this kind of planning nationally for the last six years.
“Every family in the United States needs a CHERP™. You need a CHERP™ to help make sure your children are not taken into protective custody or foster care in an emergency by the Child Protective Services (CPS) agency in your area if you can’t get to them for any reason, including disability, death, disappearance, or other tragedy involving you,” explains Ms. Hartney.
“The power under which Child Protective Services must act to protect a child is the parens patriae power--a legal term of art empowering the 'State' to ensure the care of all children within its borders when their parents aren’t able to care for them. When a child is orphaned or left alone, various agencies on the scene must secure the safety and well-being of that child or children. Those agencies can be police, sheriff’s department, Child Protective Services agencies, or even paramedics, EMTs and hospital workers.”
If a child’s parents are unable to respond or return to children, these agencies may require the assistance of courts to determine where a child will stay while the agencies are sorting out how best to care for them. CPS and foster care systems are built for families in need: suffering with addiction, dissociation, poverty, abuse, and neglect. These state-based agencies are underfunded and understaffed. They are also not built for otherwise functioning families that are dealing with a tragedy.
“Emergency situations are already stressful enough on children, but when we compound that with the terror of not knowing what will happen to them, and who will care for them, children can be further traumatized needlessly. We never want our children to have to take the ride in a squad car down to the police station or be led away by a stranger, no matter how well-meaning and well-trained. Your child can be best guided through a stressful emergency by a person who they know, love, and trust,” adds Hartney.
“Many parents I’ve counseled have a gut level fear of what would happen to their kids, but they don’t know what to be concerned about exactly, nor how to fix it. Most parents simply live with the discomfort of not knowing how their kids would be cared for if they don’t make it home on any given day. That’s no longer necessary. We can plan for an emergency situation-- and we should.”
Some parents simply take their chances, banking on the apparently low risk of death while raising kids. Unfortunately, the risk is much greater than most of us think. A survey of 1006 adults by Greenwald & Associates in 2009 revealed that one in 7 of them had lost a parent by the age of 20, and one in a hundred had lost both parents. (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-untold-burden-one-in-seven-americans-lose-a-parent-or-sibling-before-the-age-of-20-88809487.html
, last visited July 31, 2016).
While “Child Protective Services” agencies (“CPS”) serve those families as well as it can, the CPS system has flaws. Statistics on the safety of children in foster care are difficult to find. This is a system operating on the assumption that foster care is always better for children than neglect or abuse at the hands of natural parents but over which there is very little concrete reporting, oversight, or inquiry into the safety of the nearly half million children in care each year.
Encouraging every parent in the United States to put a CHERP™ in place could reduce the number of children entering foster care by ensuring that parents decide who will care for their children well in advance of any kind of emergency--including an emergency involving their own health, well-being, and fitness as a parent. Further, children who do encounter a tragic loss of one or both parents can be cared for properly, by their parents’ own designees, rather than be placed with strangers in strange surroundings.
“We hope you never deploy your CHERP™! But if it must be deployed, it’s the single best way to help make sure your kids are cared for the way you want, rather than by strangers, caseworkers, foster homes, and judges,” states Hartney.
“We want to make sure parents have the peace of mind knowing our children are always cared for by our chosen delegates and guardians.”
Toll-free: 855-55-CHERP (855 552-4377)