Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello there --
If you have been left alone with the minor children or they have been left alone without adult supervision, then the best way to approach this is to contact the Tennessee Dept of Children's services and let them know what is happening and that you are willing to take custody of them. Now, if there is another parent or blood relative in the picture that is capable of taking care of them and applies to the CPS or the family court to do so, such blood parents and relatives will generally be given preference over a step parent for custody of any minor children in such a situation as you describe (you are also permitted to make an argument that placement with you is in the best interests of the children and the judge will consider all placement options at an open hearing. If you or another relative are willing to take custody and are fit to do so, then they will not end up in foster care because the family law requires CPS and the state of TN to place the children with blood parents or relatives first and then other relations after that and lastly, the court can consider family friends as foster parents. Foster care can only be used if there are absolutely no other options available). However, unless you want to hire a lawyer and file court paperwork for custody of them yourself tomorrow morning, by the time the matter gets to court, mother may have returned and the situation may be completely changed. At the very least the TN CPS department can get the process speeded up and can get the matter into court within a day or two if they believe it is the way that the matter should be handled. In order to report such matters, here is an internet link (there is online and telephone contact information at this website) --
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