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Need Advice/Expertise - Would She End Up In Jail/Court If...

There is a long history so I can't say everything in 1000 words; needless to say we've dealt with CPS and other agencies. My 14 year old brother is not able to be removed from my mother's care despite her mental disorders and the danger he's living in. My sister’s been told the only option is emancipation but in the meantime does he stay with the person he's trying to leave? If he runs away & tries stay with my sister, would she be in trouble for helping keep him safe (ie: off the streets) AND what happens then if the court doesn't rule in his favor? We want to help our kid brother and keep him safe but we also don't want to end up in jail ourselves. I thought maybe some of you might have advice or have been in similar situations. Thanks for your help!

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edwinasmom

Asked by edwinasmom at 11:44 AM on Jan. 8, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (14)
  • I'd talk to a lawyer who specializes in child custody.
    Farrahann

    Answer by Farrahann at 11:49 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • *nods* I figured that's where we're going with this at this point. I posted this kinda hoping to get some idea of what to expect. Figured there was probably at least one mom on this website who's been through this or something similar or who might actually be in the legal system somewhere and be able to give us some idea of what will occur.

    If it matters, this is happening in the state of Michigan.
    edwinasmom

    Answer by edwinasmom at 11:51 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • BTW, thanks for taking a moment to read and reply.
    edwinasmom

    Answer by edwinasmom at 11:59 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Post this again on a Sunday afternoon, maybe you'll get a better response.
    Farrahann

    Answer by Farrahann at 12:00 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • This is going to sound so bad but this is what we did. My ex MIL is bipolar with schizo tendencies. She hallucinates and all kinds of crazy stuff. CPS, the cops ,nobody listened that my sil (13) was in danger. We were told if she ran away and we kept her at our house if MIL wanted to she could press charges for harboring a runaway. MY sil was totally losing it, my husband was freaking out. I picked up my sil from school and told her the next time her Mom starts the freaking out screaming crazy outburst to call 911. I knew she wouldn't have to worry about acting scared cuz it terrified her. I told her to tell the cops mom threatened to kill her. 3 weeks later she did and she moved in with us. No charges were filed...she said/she said stuff. She now lives on campus and has a scholarship to LSU.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:06 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Anonymous,

    Thank you for your candid reply. My mom has the same mental issues (and a few others) ... the gov. won't trust her to even decide what to do with her soc. check each month or handle her own money or even get her own car or apartment but they allow her to keep my brother and it's soooo scarey. I can't say that I fail to understand why you did what you did.

    Again, THANK YOU for your reply. *hugs*
    edwinasmom

    Answer by edwinasmom at 12:13 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • If your brother is still a young teen then your mother will most likely be in charge of his care until he is a legal adult. While she may be officially diagnosed with a mental illness, that alone does not disqualify her as a bad mother. There are many mothers parenting who have a mental illness. I am not saying your mother is a good mother (or a bad one). But legally social services, juvenile justice, and family court may not use mental illness as a determinant to remove minor children from a parent's care. Abuse (physical or sexual) and neglect are the ways in which a minor child may be removed, after some substantial and overwhelming evidence, is a way a child is then considered to be removed from a home. cont...

    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 12:22 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • cont...Usually once a child is removed they are placed, if possible, with a safe family member. Even if he were removed there would be no guarantee that this minor child would be placed in the care of any family member, especially of his or your choosing. That would be up to social services and a family court judge. See about calling a lawyer. They are expensive. But there are some free legal services that my apply to you. Call your state bar association to get free legal advice and referrals.  In the mean time getting professional on your brother's side is important.  School is a good one.  If he has contact with a guidance counselor that would be helpful.  Keeping confidence with a trusted teacher...those people who make reports are taken more seriously...cont.

    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 12:26 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • cont..While it is not necessarily right that a professional report is taken more seriously, he can use that to his advantage. Tell him to keep out of trouble, go to school, try his best. Otherwise the agencies involved will say he is the trouble maker and your mother becomes the victim of a delinquent son in their eyes.  He need to focus on his needs.  Do what he can to live the best life until he can get the Hell out.  In the mean time he needs to document and report all incidents of abuse right after they happen.  To law enforcement, to the school, to whomever.  Tell him to NEVER stop and NEVER give up until someone listens.  cont...

    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 12:30 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • cont...In the mean time it is important you keep your door open and be supportive emotionally of him. So that he knows he has people who love him and understand what is going on in his world. If he were to run away that would be the worst thing he could do. Anything that puts him in the position of being the deliquent is never a good solution. Try to talk to your mother. If not you, who does she listen to? Who does she respect the most that is also on the side of safety for your brother? Try that. Why won't she let him leave? I know, you said she is ill. So talking sense may not work. But keep trying. And sometimes honey works best. Butter up to her. Make her think you are all about her and helping her. Do what you can but remember not to loose you or your insanity as well. You also need to stay safe.

    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 12:34 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

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