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My daughter's nearly 17-year-old friend wants to move in with us.

Discussion in 'Emancipation Law' started by Noney05, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. Noney05

    Noney05 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Here's the situation... Her stepfather is verbally abusive, calls her filthy names. I'm not sure if there has been any physical abuse. She hasn't said there has been, but I know her stepfather and he is has been arrested in the past for beating each of his first two wives. This is his third marriage. The girl's mother allows this man to mistreat her daughter and her son. I do know that the stepfather did physically abuse the son who is a year younger than my daughter's friend. The son, however, moved back to the small town they came from to live with his grandmother. The girl wanted to do this as well, but her mother would not let her go. Basically, her mother wants her there because she is a live in babysitter for the baby she had with the stepfather. They make my daughter's friend do all the housework, laundry, and take care of the baby. She goes to school and is allowed to participate in activities at school such as sports, etc. but only if it doesn't interfere with her duties at home and of course the mom and stepfather NEVER come to her activities to watch her. The girl is a very depressed girl, low self-esteem, and cries all the time. She comes to our house every morning before to school to get ready with my daughter. This morning, she came over and was crying saying her stepfather had called filthy names and got in her face and screamed at her. She said she wanted to kill herself just to be able to get out of that house. She went as far as cutting herself. She called her mom from my house and her mother just screamed at her on the phone.

    So my question is this, someone has told her that when she turns 17 she can legally move out and the police won't make her go back home. I've read the law here in Missouri and it says the legal age is 18, but at age 17 if the child is in a safe home, they may not make her go back. I want to help this child. I want her to know that my home is a safe place for her, but I know that if she leaves, her mom and stepfather will most definitely be sending the police to my house. So what legal steps does this girl and me have to take in order for her to be able to live with me? I want to call Social Services and hotline them, but this girl is afraid if I do, her mom and stepdad will take it out on her and it will get worse. I've encouraged her to talk to the counselor at school, but again she doesn't think they can help her. The only thing she thinks will help her is to get out of that house.
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    "May" not make her return does not equal "Will" not make her return and most certainly does not equal "Can" not make her return. What's more, until she is 18 ( NOT 17) Mom and Dad do not need permission from law enforcement to come get her and bring her back home their very own selves.
     
    leslie82 likes this.
  3. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like a typical teenager honestly. All you know is what the girl has told you. Some kids think they're being verbally abused when they aren't. Maybe she is but that's pretty hard to prove.

    If you think a minor is being abused call the authorities. You cannot let her live with you unless her parents agree to it. Yes you're right if she leaves and comes to your house police will come to your house to get her.

    I think you need to watch your step and figure out if you really want to make this your circus and your monkeys.
     
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    So...this is a friend of your daughter? Who told her this?

    What law do you think says the part that I underlined?

    You would have to seek a guardianship from the court.
     
  5. Noney05

    Noney05 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    First, I know her stepfather. I have known stepfather longer than she and her mother have known the man. I know for a fact that he is abusive and has been arrested for assault three times in the last 10 years. I know he was also arrested for drug possession with the attempt to sell. We live in a very small town (1200 people) and everybody knows everybody. I believe what my daughter's friend is telling me. And as far as making this my "circus and monkeys," I really have no choice. I cannot in good conscience allow this girl to be treated this way. I will not turn my back on any child that needs or asks for my help. Maybe you think I'm fool to get involved, but I will not be able to live with myself if I don't at least try to help her.

    I will report to the MO Division of Family Services and I will report to the counselor at the high school. My door is always open to her, and if the police come and get her, then we will deal with that when it happens. I will also check into legal guardianship to see what that entails as another poster suggested.
     
  6. Noney05

    Noney05 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have no idea where my daughter and her friends got the information that 17 was the age of consent is Missouri. I read the law and it says 18. It was a police officer that told me that at age 17, if a child runs away, they will not issue and Amber Alert unless they know without a doubt the child is in danger. He also told me that at age 17, if a kid runs away and the police find them and they are safe, they simply inform the parents where the child is and he himself would advise the parents to let their child stay where they are at and let things simmer down.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Relying on a police officer for legal advice is akin to relying on a lawyer if your home is being burglarized.

    The only thing a troubled child needs is the loving care of his/her parent(s).

    If such care isn't available, the next best thing is intervention by family.

    Lacking family support or intervention, the state's child services agency should be contacted.

    In some EXTREME cases, intervention by law enforcement or state child services should be the first point of contact.

    No other adult should become involved, except to report the matter to the police or the state child services agency.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    "Age of consent" typically refers to the age at which a person can engage in consensual sexual relations without potential legal consequences for the other person. This obviously has nothing to do with the situation you've described.

    Maybe that's the policy of your local police, and the police do have discretion in situations like this. In any event, the only way for the child to live with you legally is via a guardianship or if CPS removes her from her family home and elects to place her with you.
     
  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    You need to report this to social services immediately, and maybe a mental health crisis agency as well.

    This is a clear indicator that you already know she does not have permission to stay at your home. Allowing her to stay could land you in legal hot water for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Do not help this girl to become a runaway. If anything, you report the matter to social services and let them investigate.

    None. Stop entertaining the idea. If her parents want her at home then she needs to go home. If she is threatening to harm herself over this then she needs more help then you are able to provide. Don't give her false hope by even discussing the possibility.

    This is the only realistic option.
     
  10. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Amber alerts are for special circumstances, not for teenagers who can't get along with their parents. Amber alert has nothing to do with it.

    That may be a department policy, but not the law. It is typical of a teenager to just run off again after being brought home. If they are reported missing and the police find them, all the police really need to do is notify the parents. The parents can then come get the kid if they choose... and if anyone prevents the parents having access to their kid or interferes in any way... they could face their own legal problems.
     
  11. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    You do NOT want to be in the middle of this! You also cannot take bit and pieces of other laws (age of consent) to form your own laws. Just because Police "may" not get involved does NOT remove legal problems for you possibly. Your BEST solution is to contact Children's Services let them deal with this its their job not yours!
     
  12. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Let's be clear about this. There is NO state where the law permits a minor to leave home without permission. If they are under the age of majority for their state (and in NO state is the age of majority younger than 18), they live where their parents say they live, period.

    While poorly written laws in a small handful of states, yours among them, mean that LEO may be reluctant to force home a 17 year old who is in a safe place, make no mistake; they CAN. And there is nothing in any of those states which will prevent Mom and Dad from doing the job themselves, and the same poorly written law means that LEOs will not interfere.

    There are two, and only two, ways a minor can legally leave home before they are at the age of majority, which as you rightly point out is 18 in your state. One is if Mom and Dad give permission - the other is if they are removed by the state. Note that running away and living with you is not one of those options.
     
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  13. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    Okay and? Someone's past doesn't necessarily matter. If you think a minor is being abused you call the authorities. That is ALL you can do. You can try to get guardianship - good luck.
     
  14. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    If this guy is abusing the girl, you need to call child protective services or her guidance counselor (or both). Those are the folks trained to determine the difference between verbal abuse and exasperation with a teenager. Giving her chores/home responsibilities is not abuse, nor is insisting that those be attended to before fun and social activities. It is nice if parents make it to their kid's play/game/performance, but it is not always possible, particularly if it means dragging a baby along.

    While letting this girl move in is a horrible idea for many reasons, that does not mean you can't let her know you are willing to listen if she needs an adult to talk to, and mentor her by being a good role model. Also, letting a depressed, weepy teenager decide how to handle a difficult family dynamic is a really bad idea. This kid needs professional help, possibly counseling and or medication. You can't get that for her as she is not your kid and as a minor, she can't get it for herself.
     
    leslie82 likes this.

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