Being arrested and booked in jail — even just overnight — is a hassle for anyone, but for adults with young kids, it can be an absolute nightmare. Who will take care of your kids while you’re in jail? How quickly can you get out of jail to care for them yourself? What if you were arrested on a weekend with no possibility of going before a judge until Monday?
If you’re a parent, keep reading to learn how you can continue to protect your kids even if you’re away from them in jail.
If You’re Arrested in the Presence of Your Children
If you’re arrested while you’re with your children, your child obviously won’t be arrested with you. Instead, the officer will hopefully let you call someone right then to pick your kids up from the site of your arrest.
However, not all officers are this accommodating, even when young kids are involved. If you aren’t able to call someone or if the officer doesn’t let you place a call, the kids might instead be picked up by Child Protective Services (CPS).
If You’re Arrested Away From Your Children
If your children weren’t near you when you were arrested, your top priority after being booked should be contacting someone who can either pick your children up or stay with them at home until you’re released. Unfortunately, making a phone call isn’t a constitutional right. Instead, most jails treat it as a privilege, often one granted for what they perceive as good behavior.
After being arrested, be as calm as possible when communicating with the arresting and booking officers. Explain your parenting situation and ask how soon you can place a phone call to a responsible adult who can pick up your children.
If officers ignore your request for a phone call, even once they know you have children home alone and you’ve behaved as politely as possible given the circumstances, take careful mental notes. You’ll want to speak to your attorney about how officers denying a reasonable request may have knowingly endangered your children.
If CPS Takes Your Children Into Custody
Having CPS take your children after you’re arrested will likely be traumatic for you and your kids alike. However, bear in mind that if CPS has temporary custody of your children, you can at least know your kids will have a roof over their head and food to eat while you’re in jail.
As soon as you’re able, though, you need to work on regaining custody immediately. CPS tries to place children with relatives, so get in touch with your kids’ other parent, grandparents, adult siblings, uncles or aunts, or anyone else you trust to temporarily care for your children.
The relative can then get in touch with CPS, provide proof of their relation to the child (for instance, through a birth certificate or passport), and undergo a background check before CPS releases the child into their custody.
CPS might also visit your relative’s home to ensure they have a safe environment to care for the child, either temporarily or long term. If a relative doesn’t claim the children within two days or fails to pass a background check, or if CPS deems the home unsafe, your children will likely become wards of the state and enter the foster care system.
How Soon Can You Get Out of Jail?
When you have kids, getting out of jail as quickly as possible is paramount, especially if your relatives aren’t able to pick up your child from CPS. As soon as a judge sets your bail, get in touch with a bail bond company who can pay your bail and quickly reunite you with your kids.
If you live in Iowa, Minnesota, or North Dakota, contact the Absolute Bail Bonds location nearest you as soon as possible.