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From Connecticut, USA:

My seven year old step-daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about eight months ago. Her father did not receive enough training about her condition and has not been properly caring for her on his visitations. He refuses to go to her doctor's appointment and will not listen when given information about her condition. Is there any legal way I can make him get the proper training he needs? No one seems to want to help.


This is a tough problem. You may want to discuss this directly with the doctors and nurses who provide care for your step-daughter. They may be able to entice her dad to work with them. If all else fails, you could go back to divorce court and have the courts enforce such a teaching program -- but this would be a last resort.


Additional comments from Stephanie Schwartz, diabetes nurse specialist:

You will need a letter from your physician stating these facts. Give that letter to your attorney to present to the judge overseeing your case. The courts will usually deny visitation until such time as her father has documented proof that he has received training and is capable of caring for a child with diabetes. At age 7, she is most certainly not able to self-manage diabetes.


[Editor's comment: Congratulations for your deep concern. This is indeed a problem. My experience has been that, unfortunately, it is often necessary to get a court order terminating visitation rights until such time as the child's father can demonstrate comptency in, at least, basic diabetes management. To be most effective, have your step-daughter's diabetes team compose a letter to the court stating the consequences of not providing a safe environment for her. You then need to have your attorney present a petition to the judge to terminate visitation. I would move quickly. You have every right to be concerned. SS]

Original posting 15 Aug 2000
Posted to Social Issues: Community Resources


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