When courts make child custody determinations, their paramount concern is the child's best interest. When a parent is unable to meet a child's basic needs or runs the risk of injuring the child through deliberate acts or involuntary circumstances, the court must make an alternative custody arrangement.
Parents may lose custody of their children if they have been found guilty of abusing them physically, sexually or psychologically.
Parents who do not provide their children adequate supervision, food, shelter, medical services or educational support risk losing custody.
If a parent is incarcerated or involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, he or she may lose custody of children. Custody may be restored once the parent is released and the state finds him or her fit to parent.
When homelessness results in children living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions, parents may lose custody until they obtain suitable shelter or housing.
Parents who are unable to provide a safe, stable home for their child for any reason---including chronic illness, addiction or lifestyle choices---may lose custody.