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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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My sister has CPS involved with her children, with documented

Customer Question

My sister has CPS involved with her children, with documented physical abuse (photographs of bruises). She left the state with a pending case open with 2 of her 3 children. (She left Nevada, went to Arizona when they got evicted.) I have her 15 year old daughter staying with me, so that she could finish the school year. My sister signed a temporary authorization for emergency care and transport. The case worker told me that she does not want me to send my niece out of state due to the fact my sister is non-compliant, and that her living conditions are unacceptable. (Travel trailer, no plumbing, mattresses on the floor, etc.) The case worker also told me that the county could not support me if I choose to seek guardianship, as my niece was not abandoned, yet they plan to report her in Arizona as non-compliant. My sister wants me to send her daughter back, the county asked me not to send her back at this time, my niece does not wish to return to an abusive household, and my husband and I are willing to let her finish high school with us. With one of her older children, in a similar situation, my sister actually called the FBI and reported her child as kidnapped. What are my rights and responsibilities in this situation? CPS does not seem to have any clear instructions for direction.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Your rights in this situation are as unclear as the CPS response. Lawfully you have to comply with the request from your sister, as you do not have guardianship or custody. At the same time, since the situation in that household is untenable, that will be a possible detriment to the child, and would not be in her best interest.

The best option for you is to file for emergency guardianship, regardless of whether or not CPS will support your petition. Once you file, you gain temporary rights that will permit you to keep the child without being in fear of being charged with kidnapping (your petition will clearly state that the child is currently with you). The petition will also clearly state that the other parent is clearly unfit to care for the child, and that it would be in her best interest to stay with you and finish up the year, and possibly longer.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 7/1/2010 at 4:49 AM EST