How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Elliott, LPCC, NCC Your Own Question
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
40019946
Type Your Parenting Question Here...
Elliott, LPCC, NCC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Im doing research for a fiction book Im writing and Im not

This answer was rated:

I'm doing research for a fiction book I'm writing and I'm not sure where to get answers. I'm hoping you can help, but if not, maybe you can point me in the right direction. Here's my scenario: A 14-year-old girl lives in a homeless shelter with her mom. Her mom, who's a recovering drug addict, attempts suicide and is now in the hospital. Would the Department of Child and Family Services already be involved in the girl's life since she lives in a homeless shelter? Would it be up to the school to call the Department of Child and Family Services after the mom's suicide attempt, or would DCFS already be involved in tracking the girl's welfare (since she lives in the shelter with her mom)? If the girl has an aunt who lives nearby, would it be up to DCFS to contact the aunt?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help with your question.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Because she is a minor DCFS would immediately be called and the girl removed either to foster care, or to her aunt's if the aunt if receptive to taking her in.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The school would not take a role in this, but DCFS would probably contact them, as their might be an interruption in school attendance, especially if she was placed outside of the area.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

DCFS might not be aware of the girls plight, as her mother may have kept her beneath the radar and school authorities might not know that the girl is in a homeless shelter with her mom.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

After the suicide attempt, DCFS would be on top of this case immediately.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I hope this helps. I will be looking for your novel. I am also a writer, just published a book on teaching children grammar and good living through chants and movement (on amazon.com as Rhythm 'n Rhymers), and am working on (simultaneously) a book of song lyrics, a futuristic spy mystery. and a Broadway musical. Yes - very eclectic mix.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I wish you great success with your novel.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Dear Melody,

Thank you so much. May God bless you and bring you success.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your help. I'm glad to have snagged an expert who's also a writer. Your Rhythm & Rhymers book sounds interesting. I'm a volunteer language arts teacher (to adults) at a homeless shelter and I'm wondering if your book might be helpful. I'll check it out.


 


So just a few follow-up questions to my scenario:


The suicide attempt happens while the girl is in school. The mom was found with her wrists cut at the homeless shelter, so I'm assuming it would be the director of the homeless shelter who would call DCFS. And then the girl gets called to the office at school, where someone from DCFS is waiting? Would it be the rep from DCFS who would actually break the news to the girl? As I have the scene now, the mom's case manager at the homeless shelter has a close relationship to the girl, so it's the case manager who comes to the school to break the news (with someone from DCFS standing by). Is that something that might actually happen, or is that going against all the rules?

Dear Melody,

This book may be a Godsend to you. It is listed as Rhythm 'n Rhymers and is a wonderful way to teach language arts.

The police would call DCFS because there is a minor child. This will be a sudden disruption of the girl's life. If the girl was at school when this happened (you did not say) then school would be notified once they located her, and probably by a DCFS social worker who would have been called by the police. The girl would need shelter other than the homeless shelter. A case manager at a homeless shelter does not seem like a usual scenario, but there could be someone there who takes that role.

She would have no authority and have to tell the police, who WOULD be there, most likely, or would follow up and called DCFS. If the girl was at school, DCFS would go there, perhaps with the police, and tell the girl what happened and would make arrangements for her since her mother might be in hospital for injuries, or for 72 hour observation, and would be medicated.

This would be a legal matter and would not be under the jurisdiction of the case manager. If she is an important character then you will have to include her afterwards, as a friend, because the daughter may not be going back to that homeless shelter.

DCFS would not be at the school to break the news, which would be secondary. They would be their to protect and shelter the girl and possibly take her to her aunt's or otherwise to a foster home or temporary foster facility.


Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So just to be clear...


 


In my scenario, the girl IS at school when she gets the news. Would it most likely be the police who show up at the school to break the news, or would it be someone from DCFS, or perhaps both? Once she's in DCFS's hands, would they let her visit her mom in the hospital? Or if it's only the police who show up at the school, maybe the police would escort her to the hospital, where someone from DCFS is waiting?


 


By the way, I just ordered your book. I'm looking forward to seeing how I might implement it in my classes. Smile

Dear Melody,

Thanks a great deal. You will love doing these chants with the children.

In this scenario, it is the police who will be most likely to show up with DCFS and first talk with the principle to learn any additional information regarding issues that may indicate abuse or neglect, and to find out other pertinent information, possible the aunt's contact information, father contact information (if any), grandparents, etc.

Then the child would be called to the office and be gently told that her mother was injured, in hospital, and recovering. They would probably bring her to see her mother, if the hospital officials/psychiatrist permitted this. They might also contact the aunt and bring her as well, particularly if she agreed to take temporary custody.

Very often child protective agencies and police work together and show up together on such matters.


Warm regards,

Elliott
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you again, Melody.

God bless you.

Elliott