The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child
." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc.
However, it is UNLIKELY that the Court will assign custody to a 17 year old. It is more likely that if no ADULT guardian is available or all are ruled out, the child would be put into foster care.
Best of luck in your matter. I'm here if you need any more clarification or follow up information.
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