If an abused 15 year old girl came into our home a few weeks ago and we re taking care of her, what steps should we take to protect both her and our family?

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If an abused 15 year old girl came into our home a few weeks ago and we re taking care of her, what steps should we take to protect both her and our family?

According to her peers she was being abused by alcoholic mother and the mother’s live-in boyfriend. Her mother let her come stay with us without ever meeting us before. We have been taking care of her as if she were one of our own.

Asked on December 12, 2012 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Kate Forrest / The Law Office of Kate M. Forrest, PLLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In Washington, you could petition the court for a nonparental custody order, which requires the court finding the parents unfit and can finvolve lenthy or complicated investigations and court hearings if the mother objects, but it would give you full legal rights to continue caring for her as one of your own.  There is also the option of a temporary parental consent agreement, since the mother is currently allowing the daughter to live with you--it would allow you to do things like enroll her in school and authorize medical care, but it would not be legally binding against the mother (who could withdraw consent at any time).  If you happen to be in Washington, the following publication may be helpful; if you live in any other state, consult a local family law attorney about your options.  http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/documents/2448213100EN.pdf?stateabbrev=/WA/


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