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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Judge orders return of child removed from mother’s home by Family Dept.

Attorney Ramón Rivera Grau

By The Star Staff

Saying that parents must be given the tools necessary to guarantee the safety of their children, Caguas Superior Court Judge Sonya Nieves Cordero ordered late last week that Lisha Ramón Mejías regain custody of her two-year-old daughter, who had been removed on Wednesday night by the Family Department (DF) after the woman attacked her common-law husband in the presence of the child.

Ramón Mejías was represented by attorney Ramón Rivera Grau.

“There are no elements of abuse. None of the allegations even involved mistreatment by Lisha,” Rivera Grau told reporters. “There were simply allegations that there were incidents of domestic violence … and there were no accusations, there are no criminal charges against my client, there are no protection orders in place.”

“What there was was an allegation in an existing ex parte protection order by the petitioning party; therefore there were no allegations of domestic violence in this case,” the attorney added. “There is nothing in the nature of this case that supports the most drastic measure, which is the removal of a minor.”

Ramón Mejías, when approached by the press, denied feeling discriminated against by the DF.

“No, but I did feel like there was abuse for just being on social media,” she said. “[There were] many people who unfortunately do not agree with the upbringing and lifestyle that I lead with my daughter, and that caused this.”

The Family Department took custody of the child after Nieves Cordero allegedly attacked her boyfriend on Dec. 18 with a knife, causing a laceration on his right hand, scratched his left arm and bit him in the left leg, all in presence of the child.

In a written statement, Glenda Gerena Ríos, who heads the Families and Children Administration, said: “The Family Department has the obligation to guarantee the safety of minors, regardless of judicial, administrative or any other determinations, in cases of potential aggression or abuse against any minor in Puerto Rico.

“As a department of law and order, we respect and abide by court determinations, but we are also required to exhaust all available remedies to ensure the protection of the child,” the official added.

The judge in the case said “We continue to make every effort to achieve an opening for mom and dad to receive services that strengthen her, so that she can guarantee the safety and well being of the child.”

“Specifically, part of the help that the Family Department offers in cases like this is a sensitive service plan that, according to the needs of the family, provides the skills and tools they need,” she added. “As we have said before, our goal is for the child to be healthy and safe, and provided that the parents are trained to guarantee this, we will give the necessary help and support so that, at the end of the process, she can continue in her family nucleus.”

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