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Ladymia69's avatar

What can be done about my nephew?

Asked by Ladymia69 (6881points) May 1st, 2011

My 26-year-old sister Sarah suffers from lots of disorders (narcissism, being one of them) including borderline personality disorder. Her whole life, my parents have coddled her (due to her being born with albinism and nystagmus- they actually thought she would be blind after she was born) and this has created a monster of a personality that has made our family fairly miserable. My dad died in 2007, and my mom is not one to fend for herself, but she has been doing okay up until the past couple of years. Sarah has been completely unable and uninterested in working ever since she had her child with a 40-year-old man a few years ago. This little kid has been developing problems in school, and they’re giving him attention deficit disorder meds now. Sarah is living with a boyfriend who has no job and no prospects but lives with his father, who is a paraplegic veteran and gets government benefits. Sarah can’t drive but Ian (the boyfriend) can, but he no longer wants to get up at 6:30 in the morning and take the kid to school, so my mom is going to be forced to drive 30 miles to pick him up and take him to school, then go to work 15 miles away. At the end of this month, Ian’s dad is kicking Sarah out because she got angry one night and took a guitar and smashed it into a bookshelf. He is tired of her, as everyone who lets her in becomes. So on June 1st, Chase (my nephew) and Sarah will be homeless. And Sarah isn’t willing to get a job. My mom has helped Sarah before to get a townhouse, and she actually paid her rent. Sarah returned the favor by bringing in terrible roommates that trashed the house, and completely disrespected my mom.

I told my mom to call DSS ( who has dealt with Sarah in a case before) and let them know ahead of time that Sarah won’t be able to provide him with shelter or anything else after May 30th, and to ask them if she (my mom) can take Chase into her house and care for him. That will leave Sarah to her own, and from the behavior I have been told she has been exhibiting lately, I think she needs psychiatric or psychological help.

Phew…so I guess I am asking if anyone knows what to do legally speaking, or if they have any experience with this sort of thing.

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11 Answers

janbb's avatar

I don’t have any experience with this but I think calling DSS and probably consulting a lawyer who is adept in child custody cases is the best way to go. I feel for you.

Hibernate's avatar

A sad story :(

I’ll pray for you.

Kardamom's avatar

Are you or any other relatives able to take in your nephew as a foster child or to possibly adopt him or become his legal guardian? It sounds like that would be a big chore for your mom. You should contact child protective services and ask them for advice. And I agree with @janbb that you might want to contact a lawyer who deals with family law and custody cases.

Are you in contact with your sister’s doctor (primary or pyschiatrist or therapist). If so , you should schedule an appointment to speak to them about this situation and see if they have any advice for you. If your sister is a danger to herself or others (her child) they may be able to have her comitted temporarily. During that time, she would be forced to relinquish care of her child either to the state or to a relative.

What is the status of your nephews biological father? Is he in the picture? Does he have any type of custody or visitation rights? What about bio-dad’s family? Is there another set of grandparents that could temporarily take custody of your nephew, or other blood relatives on that side that could pitch in to help?

You might also want to talk to the principal, counselor and teacher at your nephew’s school and give them a heads up on this situation and ask if they have any advice.

I’m so sorry to hear about this. Please keep us updated.

creative1's avatar

If your mom knows the name of the social worker whom the case was previously open with she can give them a call and let them know the situation and that she is willing to be a what is called relative foster care where she would become the foster parent for her grandson. Your mom will have to go to foster parents classes in most states and get licensed as a foster parent but it will be worth it knowing that they will do all they can to have your sister attend parenting classes, go to thereapist, and help her get the help she needs in order to get your nephew back. Your sister has to be willing to do whatever the social worker says and in most cases they also have what is called a parent child evaluation done which gives them alot of insight as to wheather or not she should parent at all. In most states there are 800 numbers set up in order to report issues with children so if your mother doesn’t know her previous worker then she can call the hotline and the worker will be contacted. If she lets the hotline know to contact her they should, they perfer the child remain with a family memeber rather than going to someone outside the family if at all possible. Your mom will also receive foster board in order to help eleviate some of the costs of having him in her home. It isn’t much and I spend more on the kids than I ever received from the state but it helps having the addional for them.

I hope all this helps

KateTheGreat's avatar

If you guys call DSS, they will basically take care of everything. The only way that the mom could get him back if she is evaluated and she gets help with her mental problems first. Then she has to get stable and find a place to live. It will be easy to get him from her but it will be hard for her to get him back.

Ladymia69's avatar

Naw, hate to tell you, My Kate, but DSS has heavily been in favor of Sarah, even despite her crap. When they did do a case on her, she charmed them. It’s messed up.

creative1's avatar

@ladymia69 They keep records of everything, she may thing along with you may think she is charming them but if anyone reports her it will keep her on their radar and the smallest issue and your nephew will be removed faster than you will ever believe. My friend is a social worker for DCYF in RI and I am a foster parent as well and believe me sometimes the social worker has their hands tied and has to give the bio parent/s a chance but they don’t give them many as far as children are concerned.

Your mother can offer to do a guardianship as well where they would have full custody of your nephew but there would need to be stipulations that your sister would have to meet in order for your sister to get custody back or even visitations. Your mother can try to do this privately through just your sister and her but she would want to hire a lawyer.

If she goes the foster care route DSS could offer a guardianship especially if this is a repeat removal. When a child has been removed from a home more than once, they want permenancy for the child. There are federal guidelines they have to follow in order to get funding and permenancy is something they have to give the child with in a certain time frame otherwise they loose money coming into the state.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@ladymia69 Oh, I keep forgetting we’re in SC. :(

cheebdragon's avatar

If she has so many problems, maybe you could try talking her into letting you or your mom take custody of him? I wouldnt involve DSS unless you absolutely have to….if for any reason the kid gets taken away and placed in a foster home, it could traumatize him for life, in more than one way

Ladymia69's avatar

@cheebdragon Did I mention she is completely selfish? She hates my mom, even though my mom has helped her every step of the way, and will not give up Chase in any way. I am not going to take him. It was not my choice to have him, and I never wanted children. I will not be put in that situation. Maybe that sounds selfish, but I don’t care. I don’t want a kid. He won’t be put in a foster home. The DSS here in SC is so lax, that they won’t remove a child unless there is domestic violence or drugs involved. They aren’t going to be much help. It’s sad.

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