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What are caretaking functions during parenting time?

One of the most important aspects of child custody in Illinois is that the child is properly cared for by both parents. It is in the best interests of the child that this be adhered to, and the law is clear on what entails "caretaking functions" when the child is in the home of one parent or the other. The term means that there are tasks that require the parent and child to interact, or that there be arrangements, supervision or direction with the child and for care others can provide. Thus, it is important to know what is included in caretaking functions.

The caretaking function starts with the child's nutritional needs being satisfied. There must also be management of the child's routines when it comes to going to bed and waking up. The child must be cared for when he or she is ill, and attention must be paid to the child's hygiene, washing, dressing and grooming. The parent must play with the child, make sure that the child takes part in extracurricular activities, and protect the child. There also must be transportation for the child. The child will have developmental requirements that include language and motor skills development.

But the list doesn't stop there. There must be discipline and the teaching of proper behaviors. The child must attend school with the parent communicating with teachers and overseeing homework. He or she must also be helped with developing relationships with others. The parent has to make certain that the child has and follows medical appointments with requisite follow-ups. There must be guidance in morals and ethics, too. If alternative care is needed, it must be arranged with a babysitter, family member, or provider of child care services.

Parents who are seeking child custody and visitation rights must be cognizant of how the law dictates a child be cared for and what must be done to ensure that proper care is provided. Since child custody is an issue rife with emotions, parenting time can be a sticking point as parents try to come to an agreement. Discussing the matter with a qualified attorney can help with gathering important information and dealing with how the custody and visitation will be handled.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, "Part VI -- Allocation Of Parental Responsibilities -- Sec. 600. Definitions -- (c) Caretaking functions," accessed on July 5, 2017

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