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I live in Maine and my niece was taken into state custody.

Customer Question
I live in Maine...

I live in Maine and my niece was taken into state custody. Can I request through the courts that she be placed with us instead of being licensed for foster care?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in Maine family court?

Not yet, we have been trying to deal with the situation through DHHS but they wont talk to us. I am in the process of requesting interested person status in the child protection case

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?

No I'm trying to find one but all of the local attourneys have represented my sister so it is a conflict of interest

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I dont think so

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
3/14/2018
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 4 months ago
Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 870
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

It is possible for children in foster care/state custody through DHHS to be placed with relatives. This is called relative placement. This is generally done via agreement with DHHS or via an intervention/motion in the family court.

I would continue to work with DHHS and if not, an attorney would be a wise next step. If there are conflicts in one area, expand to consider other attorneys in the county or adjoining counties. I have also provided here a link to an overview of the Relative Placement Policy from DHHS in Maine. I wanted you to have this so you could review it and potentially quote it to DHHS. As you will see, the policy is to pursue relative placement.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
they are supposed to. They are not interested in working with us and the child has been in danger since she has been in foster care. She has admitted to thoughts of suicide and was admitted to and released from a psychiatric hospital in Dhhs care. I want to know if Maine probate form PP-101, PP-109 or PP-101T could be valid in this case. Are you able to answer that? Thank you
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 4 months ago

Stand by and I will check.

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Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 4 months ago

So here is my thoughts on that. All of those forms are to be heard/presented in the Probate Court. If the children have already been taken into state custody, then that leads me to the belief that there is an active legal case in the Maine District Court. As well, if there is a protective case opened, there should have already been a Guardian ad Litem appointed for your niece.

The reason I point all of this out is that the general approach for judicial economy is for there to be only one case involving the same set of facts going at one time. As well, since the protective cases are heard in the District Court, I believe the opportunity to have another judge consider the case would be low.

That all having been said, the approach you could consider is three fold. 1 - approach the Court at the next hearing, and if you don't know when one is, request a hearing at the clerk's office. At the hearing request placement. 2 - contact DHHS and ask to speak to a supervisor for the case workers. If that doesn't work, ask for their supervisor. As well, ask for a specific reason why you are not being considered and quote the statute I sent. 3 - Speak to the present Guardian for your niece and address placement with that person. They can be a good ally.

Finally, look for an attorney who can streamline the process of getting your niece out of state care and with family where she belongs!

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