For the past couple of weeks, i've been involved in the case of a pregnant 16 year old "C".
As I said, C is 15. She lives with her father, SM and SM's 10 year old son. C's BM died of breast cancer when C was 6. Dad married SM when C was 9. Dad is a long-haul truck driver, so he is out of state for weeks at a time. C and her SM, by the accounts of C, Dad and other family members, have never had a close relationship. SM, on the other hand, believes that she and C are like "mother and daughter". This family had an open case when C was 10, because it was alleged that SM was withholding food from C and that C had come to school with a broken collar bone. When questioned, C said that she fell. The case was eventually closed, due to lack of strong evidence of abuse or neglect.
C started dating her BF, who is 16, when she was 14 and they became sexually active shortly after. C found out she was pregnant 3 months ago, but did not tell anyone. SM apparently found a positive pregnancy test in C's room several weeks ago and questioned C about it. When C admitted she is pregnant, SM verbally assaulted C, saying that C would be getting an abortion. SM took C to the doctor and found out that C may be too far along to get an abortion. According to C, SM then made her drink castor oil, in hopes that it would induce a miscarriage (i've NEVER heard of this). When this didn't work, SM told C that SM would make her give the baby up for adoption. C told SM that she would not be considering adoption. SM then told C that C would have to leave the house unless the baby was given up for adoption. Apparently C said some choice words to SM during this conversation (C told SM to "fuck off" and called SM an asshole) and SM slapped C on the side of the face and in the mouth, which resulted in bruising to C's face and a split lip.
C's boyfriend and his parents do know that C is pregnant. C's boyfriend's parents are supportive of whatever C and BF decide to do. BF does have a part-time job and his parents are willing to help him financially support the baby until he finishes high school. BF is on track to graduate next May. If BF decides to go to college, his parents are willing to help support the baby while BF is in college.
C spent the night at a friend's home and then spoke to a teacher at her high school the next day. The teacher advised the school social worker of the situation and then CPS was called. C was taken in by a family friend until Dad could get home. SM was charged with assault on a minor (in my state, it is illegal to strike a minor in the head or face) and was arrested. SM later bonded out and went back to the family home. In meeting with Dad and SM, SM says that there is no way that SD will be allowed back into the home and that Dad will not be supporting SD financially. In my meeting with Dad alone, Dad says that he is confused and needs to figure out what his next steps will be. Dad does not want to kick his child out, but he does not want SD's life to be "ruined by this". Dad also does not want to displease SM and is upset by SM's actions.
I already know what the next steps are and I know what the law in my state says. We've made a "safety plan" and will be presenting it to Dad and SM today. But, in this situation, what do YOU think SM's rights are?
Does SM have the right to kick her pregnant, minor SD out of the family home?
Does SM have the right to decide that minor SD will have to give her child up for adoption?
Does SM have the right to cut off minor SD's financial support?
**I forgot to add what the safety plan that I will be presenting to Dad and SM is.
1) SM will be required to move out of the family home. SM has already physically assaulted SD and attempted to force her to miscarry. There is a restraining order against SM.
2) SM will not be allowed to have contact in any form with SD.
3) Because Dad works out of town, SD's maternal grandmother will move into the family home to supervise SD.
4) Dad will continue to financially support SD. Dad will keep medical insurance on SD.
5) SD will enroll in parenting classes and will check to see if she is eligible for WIC.
6) SD will check into her school's Alternative Education program to see if she is interested in it. This may allow her to have different hours that may better suit her schedule once the baby is born.
7) Dad and SD will enroll into family therapy. Because the restraining order bars SM from any contact with SD, SM will enroll in an anger management class.
This safety plan is indefinite and can be changed or adjusted to suit the family's needs.