When an investigation into your ability to properly parent a child is dropped, a celebration is likely in order. But if the celebration takes the form of the exact reason that prompted the investigation, then maybe it is not such a good idea. Take 27-year-old Jamie Riley.
When Riley got word that the local Department of Children and Family Services dropped their case against her, she began celebrating with vodka. Specifically, she told police she took to the bottle, "because DCFS dropped their investigation." Neighbors called police, reporting that Riley was carrying her 3-month-old child "as if she had a football under her armpit." The Huffington Post reports that police arrived on the scene and Riley threatened to urinate in the squad car.
Needless to say, the drunk mom child endangerment celebration ended with an arrest. And an investigation into Riley's ability to care for her child has resumed. Riley has also been charged with misdemeanor child endangerment, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. Although this ironic situation is amusing, police and child protective services take child endangerment issues very seriously.
Child endangerment is a type of child abuse in which the parent places the child in situations that threaten the health and safety of a child. This broad definition can assume a variety of manifestations, including getting drunk off vodka and holding a child like a football. The inquiry is entirely focused on the best interests of the child. Child endangerment is different from child abuse in that the actions of the parent do not involve direct harm to the child, but the penalties and potential to lose custody are very similar. In the case of Jamie Riley, her young son will remain in DCFS custody pending the investigation.