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  • Mar 31, 2009, 05:37 AM
    How do I go about getting custody or guardianship of my nephew
    My nephews mother is willing to let me have him, she says she can't be a mother to him right now, would like to know what we would need to make this happen, paperwork that needs to be filled out, etc? This is not the first time she has done this, my brother is also willing to let me take care of his son, he is not able to take him in right now. Please help. He is also being verbally abused by his mom as she has told my sister's and I straight out.
  • Apr 1, 2009, 07:53 AM
    The first thing I'd like to say is I'm not a lawyer. The second thing is that this mother is in obvious pain and distress. Only the most psychotic of people would want to truly intentionally want to hurt their children. This looks like a cry for help from both of them.
    Do you have a free Legal Aid Society in your area? If you do, start there. If you don't, do you have a friend who is a lawyer? If not, call some local law offices and ask them if they do 1)child custody and 2)pro bono work (free).
    Your next call should be to your local child protective agency and see if they have a CASA volunteer program and if so how can you go about getting your nephew access to the agency. CASA is a unit of trained volunteers who are advocates for the child and NO one else. They are also non profit and no cost.
    I would also take my nephew to his school counselor-they have access to many programs that can help him. Many schools also retain a social work on staff and they can be of help in this situation. You can usually always get in to speak to a counselor a lot quicker-like next day-as opposed to an agency where it may take a few days to get him in to see someone.
    You have no rights to advocate for this young man-legally-but as a concerned relative you have the right to call your local child protective agency and see if they can help you learn how to go about getting at least temporary custody of you nephew or "joint" custody with his mother.
    I think his mom really needs help right now and most times the courts in our country have swung back to trying to reconcile and keep families together-ultimately-once any threat to the child is removed and the situation has been rectified through counseling, rehab, whatever the family needs. It used to be they would be more eager to take the parental rites away but these days they are trying to in most cases, preserve the family unit if at all possible.
    If this mom feels like you are on her side, and not against her, she might be more willing to seek whatever help she needs and there's so much help out there for the asking. If she doesn't have insurance or money that is not always a problem and in many states there are programs available for all of you at no or little cost.
    I hope this has been some help to you. I'm glad your nephew has you to come to. If you feel he is in any danger try to find your local youth shelter and take him there temporarily. They will take him in and give him food, shelter, access to his school, etc till something gets in motion to help him.
    Good luck with this. My prayers are with you as they are with all kids at risk. I'm a mom of four, foster parent of 15+ years of kids who have been SEVERELY abused-sexually, mentally, physically and/or severely neglected. If I can be of any further help you can send me a private IM at AIM. My user name is bakerchrisplant.
  • Apr 1, 2009, 08:16 AM

    I agree with what plantfreek said. Your first concern has to be the safetly of your nephew and once he's safe, you can work on the other issues. Good luck

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