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16 Year Old Needing Advice; Nothing More Pennsylvania

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  • 16 Year Old Needing Advice; Nothing More Pennsylvania

    (This May be Long, I apologize)

    First off I want to say that I just registered with the boards this evening but I have been reading the forums for a couple of weeks now trying to gain my own insight and information before burdening anyone with questions that most likely have already been answered. However, after reading quite a bit of the forums threads I have realized a lot of people seeking emancipation are doing it out of "wrong" reasons, thats not to say mine are the right reasons but I hope that whom ever reads this will be patient with me and just give me sound advice. I also realize this is a free forum and that whatever advice is given I respect and appreciate. I am not looking for sympathy, or for anyone to feel bad for what I am going through, this is my experience and it is making me stronger I am simply just looking for options and answers to a few questions.

    So with that behind us, I will start off to explain the situation I am in first.

    I am 16 years old and I live in Coal Township, PA. I currently live with my mother and her boyfriend. My home-life is quite difficult and stressful. My mom doesn't work anymore she lost her job due to taking too much time off of work, at the request of the new boyfriend. Her time is now spent at home drinking, and watching tv. Her boyfriend works but he is also the same, when he isn't working or isn't calling off he's at home with her, drinking and arguing or at the bar together, which usually ends in the cops showing up to either place. (The bar or home).
    When they fight it gets nasty, they usually physically fight, and there are times when I fear that he may even kill my mom. He has spoke of it several times but she stays like so many do. Like I have stated the cops are almost always called. They threaten to arrest both of them but it usually never goes anywhere. The cops get just as tired of this as I do and start to lack in responding to the calls. When they are drunk (which is almost all the time) her boyfriend often argues with me, yelling and it used to be physical but a call to the police killed all of that. Now it is just verbally, with him towards myself. My mom if she is upset from a fight with him will verbally go after me. Most of the times when this occurs I just run out of the house and don't come back for several hours or until they have fallen asleep.
    She has kicked me out several times, and her boyfriend has locked me out quite a number of times. The cops are almost always called immediately after this has happened. (The neighbors call) and I am let back in and the following morning everyone but me acts as if nothing has happened.
    My real father lives in California and he is fully aware of my situation and living conditions but refuses to help out in anyway. As in I had asked him several times if I could live with him but he refuses. And I cannot say that it would be any better of a situation, his job has him constantly traveling and he himself has an issue with alcohol and drugs. I am not really effected by his decline, it is crappy but I figured I would explain this here to help with any advice that can be given.

    To explain why I have been considering emancipation. (I am considering not 100% seeking as I am not fully informed on what it takes.) My mom doesn't work as I have stated up above, and her boyfriend's income is spent on their bar habits, and whatever else they do. Usually football junk. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, the rent is $320 a month. I pay the rent, I pay for the electricity, and internet (which I mostly use).

    My home life as I have explained is troubling, it's not just the verbal arguements that errupt or the constant of me being booted out, but there aare times when I cannot even sleep at night and have actually fallen asleep in school. Luckily the teachers understand the issues and excuse me from class to catch some sleep in the nurses office. They want to help but the resources for them to do much are lacking in the county.
    My Mom's boyfriend and sometimes herself when I am at work or at school will go through my things trashing my room trying to find whatever they can as far as money or property of mine that they can sell for their own money. During this past sumer although I have tried to stay away from home there were 2 incidents in which I ended up in the hospital and they kept me for a minimum of 3 days, they cited it as due to stress. The second time was due to high blood pressure and heart rate and they had to keep me for observation. After the last incident when I returned home I returned to being yelled at and to a stack full of bills and the landlord demanding his money. All of which I was able to catch up and fix.

    My next door neighbor that used to be here until they moved called Children services on my mom they came and checked out the place and checked out my Mom. Nothing was done about it. They basically said since there were no visable signs of abuse there was nothing they saw needed to be done. But they didn't know the whole story and telling them went no where.

    I work in a Grocery Store called Wegman's, they pay me $11 an hour, and I work about 32 hours minimum a week, I am not sure if this is above how many hours I can work as a minor but the store is understaffed, and holidays are coming up and I can use the work. My Manager at the store is also aware of my wanting and needing of money and to keep myself out of the house so he pays me to do lawn care and other outside work around his house and his mother's house and pays me under the table for that work.
    As I have stated I pay for the rent & utilities. I also pay to have my own cell phone up and running as my mom refuses me to hook up a landline at home. I also have my own car and pay for my own insurance and up-keeping of the vehicle.
    I am also currently & still enrolled in HS, I am in the 11th grade we just started this year a couple of weeks ago. I have a 3.7 gpa. A lot of my studying is done at school or at break at work, if I do not work that day and my manager has nothing for me to do I stay after school and tutor or seek tutoring just to keep me away from home. I guess that is one good thing out of this all, thus far.
    I am 16 and will be 17 in december, when I am 18 I am going to enlist in the Air-force, I know you can enlist at 17 but I wish to finish HS and get my diploma and then move on towards that goal.

    I have stated to my mom that I am planning to move out and because she knows that her and her boyfriend will have to fend for themselves she told me she will stop me in every-way.

    I think I have covered all the bases of questions that usually follow on this, so my questions are if my mom claims she will stop me from moving out, can she also stop me from getting Emancipated if I would in-fact qualify?

    I have read what it takes that a judge looks for when granting emancipation, I have enough money in my bank account saved up to cover the cost of First Month's Rent & Security deposit, and also deposits that may be required to hook up utilities and so forth. I also prepare and purchase my own meals currently so that status wouldn't be any different if on my own.

    Is there anyway I can just move out with out my mom stopping me without getting emancipated?

    And also, if I would qualify to be emancipated or even just to go before a judge, I realize I would need to seek a lawyers help to go through the process, I am not real familiar with the law and how it all works so I was wondering what kind of lawyer I should seek. As far as what type of laws they practice and defend. There are public attorneys available in my area but they cover only certain cases and are available based on your income, I may make too much.

    Also the cops that continuously show up when they are called to our house I am sure a couple of them would be willing to speak on my behalf in court, would this do anything to help me out, if i did Qualify?

    I think that may be everything but one more thing just for the record of my post I am not seeking to live with anyone else, not friends nor a girlfriend (I don't have one anyways). Also I cannot live with anyone in my family outside of my mom, My grandma lives a lone now that her husband passed away and having to deal with getting in the middle of a mess like this would really be too much stress on her and her health.

    If I do not qualify to be emancipated, would there be any other options? I also apologize for the long post I just wanted to cover everything so I don't end up wasting anyone's time, or even mine.

    Thank You in advance.
    Last edited by FlyinHawk; 09-27-2007, 11:36 PM. Reason: Added more info

  • #2
    In PA, whether or not a minor can/will be emancipated is determined by the county that you live in. While there is nothing to prevent you from filing, it does not appear that your county has ever approved an emancipation petition.

    I frankly can't hold out a lot of hope that they will reverse themselves for you.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      I should have expected that, this county is poor when it comes to helping out and doing things that are in need for others.

      Thank you for the response though. I just have a couple of question concerning it, I am not trying to find a way to go against what you said or what the law is for this county.

      But I was just wondering is it based on the County you reside in or will it work for the county you work in or the county in which you recieve schooling in? I guess what I am asking is can I only deal with it in Northumberland county apart from the other counties in which I either work or go to school in?

      Also with what you said I am assuming that it is basically a waste of my time a lawyers time to even try to pursue this then?


      • #4
        The requirement is that you must file in your residential county. (the county where you live).

        However, I'm not going to tell you that it is a waste of time to talk to an atty. How willing would the police be to back up your claims with CPS? It's not right, but sometimes, the overworked social workers really do put more stock in an adult's claims than they do the children.
        HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
        How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
        (unique up on him)
        How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
        (same way)


        • #5
          There are two officers who are willing to speak on my behalf to anyone if there should be the opportunity for them to do so, one being a Sgt. of the local pd, and the other is a Deputy Sheriff. These are both officers who have been there when the police had been called to the house from my mom and her boyfriend fighting, and for him kicking me or locking me out.

          They have both talked to me when they were called to the incident and have seen that my Mom and her bf are both intoxicated, during early hours-late hours on weekends, and after work hours on weekdays, showing that it is basically me for myself when they are around. Just because the cops show up doesn't mean their fighting stops, so both the officers have seen the arguments and how ugly they get. They have also both come and talked to me while there on the incident.

          They have seen me being fearful and just out right crying when they arrive. There was the one incident that was fairly recent that my Mom and her BF were arguing, they both just returned from the sports bar after watching a football game and I don't know what happened nor what the fight was about, usually about accusing the other of cheating, or him calling my mom stupid or occasionally bringing me up. But this time all I remember was that during the fight my mom brought up the fact that she would end this all, her bf instigated it and replied asking something like "you really think you can? You think its that easy" I don't remember her reply all I remember is hearing the word Gun. At this point I was terrified. As I knew my mom owned and had a gun in the home. The Police were called and I was the one who called. The Deputy came into my room and shut the door and asked me questions regarding the gun in question because both my mom and her bf were denying it was said and denying she owned one. He knew I was scared and told me he would work with me and stay on my side if I remained honest about it. So I did i told him about her gun and that yes it was me who called. When he left my room after taking information and trying to provide support he promptly told my mom's bf that a neighbor outside heard the yelling and reported they heard mention of a gun. It wasn't true but he was covering for me. He also then told my mom that if the gun is registered to her they would be able to find out and that she had so many days to turn it in.

          After that incident both the officers had talked to me outside of my apartment and told me that if there was anything they needed to do to help me out that they would which meant they would support me in any way as far as speaking on my behalf.

          They are aware of the cps claims and are upset that nothing is being done. They have not given me any ideas as what I should do about all this, they're not 100% sure of what my options are and do not want to give me false information which I fully understand.

          There was more than just one cps call and they have shown up several times. But somehow my mom's word & her bf's word always beats mines. They basically just talk with her and then she has a friend talk to them also to try and uplift her side of the issue. They have also ordered them both to take drug tests but they are given time in between before the actual test which gives them time to run out and purchase detox products that clear them of it.

          This has hall been going on for quite a while it was last year when a coworker told me about emancipation, they weren't suggesting I go for it only because they weren't clear of all the requirements and rules surrounding it but it was a suggestion for me to look into. So this wasn't an overnight issue.

          Also the landlord of the apartment has also said that he would provide me with a place that he owns on the other side of town, if I could find a way to get out away from her, without needing a cosigner because the rent is paid from me, and he documents the receipts with my name. He has also stated to the police that he would evict Us from the place due to the fact of the disturbance calls & the police showing up, it's listed in the lease that he can infact do this but that he will not because he is afraid of what would happen with me.

          There are a lot of people who are concerned about this but do not want to give me false information so they keep to themselves about much of it. There are neighbors who are perfect witnesses but most likely wouldn't speak on my behalf mainly out of fear a lot of them themselves have children and are good parents but are just worried about the wrath that this all could bring about from my mom and her bf.

          I am not upset with Cps for not helping out thus far, this county is very poor most of its occupants are on welfare (nothing wrong with that if you truly need it) and the other half are those who are either staying here because they have family in the prisons. This is a very high Drug area also. They have their hands-full, and I can understand it, I just wish there were options for me.


          • #6
            Okay, would you be willing to try to contact CPS again (not in the middle of a mess, but in a relatively calm moment) and have the officers contribute their observations to your account when you talk to the case worker?
            HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
            How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
            (unique up on him)
            How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
            (same way)


            • #7
              If it gets me anywhere productively I am willing to call or talk to anyone.

              I could stop by the office monday after school, there wouldn't be a mess going on at school from my Mom or her bf so it would be the best "calm" time to do so.

              When you say to add what the officers observed are you saying I should take a written & signed statement from them, have them go with me or tell the case worker that they are willing to speak on my behalf.

              Also would it be better to stick with the same Case worker that has been dealing with this or seek a new one? I ask because I feel there may be a bias on her side only because every-time she shows up she seems to take their side over mine, despite anything is going on based on the fact she sees no physical abuse. And despite what other people have told her who were on my side of it all. I just do not want to go in and talk to her about everything if in the end she will still side with my mom and her bf.

              Do you know what may come out of doing this? I guess what i am asking is will something most likely happen or will it be a waiting game in which they just check out the home and once again nothing happens?

              I will still go in regardless I just wanted to know what may happen.


              • #8
                The LLT crystal ball is out being recalibrated, sorry.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


                • #9
                  Is there anyway I could get into foster care?

                  I'm not neccessarily looking to be emancipated, it was just a suggestion someone offered me a while ago. I just want to get out and away from all of this. In anyway that is legal.


                  • #10
                    That's a question to be asking CPS. The only way you're going to get into foster care is through them. It's a much more likely scenario than emancipation, btw, though I'm not going to offer you any guarantees. But IF it's going to happen, it's going to happen because CPS takes you out of your home. Foster care is not something you can get into by yourself.
                    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


                    • #11
                      Your responses appear to be consistently mature and thought out, thats highly unusual for someone your age.

                      I am curious though as to why the police officers have not contacted DCYS on their own and helped to coordinate your removal from that environment. It would seem to me that one of your maturity and history would be ripe for an "intervention" from the Police. They have thrown crack heads and prostitutes into programs for allot less than the situation you describe......
                      This will pass. Life's got bigger disapointments waiting for you.


                      • #12
                        I get a lot of my knowledge and wisdom from my grandfather he was someone who was always there for me, never gave up and would have done anything to help me if he could. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2005, which really was the beginning of everything falling apart even more so. I like to believe he lives through me now, because I would never have been able to be as strong and made it through without him. I also like to believe that it's not what we experience that makes us stronger but how we deal with them.

                        I didn't know cps was the ones who dealt with foster care directly so thank you for that information. Despite the fact that cps hasn't been of much help in the past I am still holding out faith that maybe something else will happen this time around. Like someone here said to go in when there wasn't a fight, or the cops weren't called it may be able to help myself explain my side a little better and for them to get a glimpse of it.

                        Also a few of the officers in the past, from this township and a different one have taken their reports & accounts to the cps, but when that occurs its always after they have been called to the home or someone (usually a teacher from my school) have made a complaint. Which then all they do is make an appearance at the home and my mom does her talking magic, they talk to me and then they figure the case is closed because of no evidence of physical abuse. After that happens enough times they feel like there is no hope when reporting it. Usually when someone reports it they are further told that all children & parent's argue, and even parents fight with each other it doesn't necessarily constitute grounds for removal of the child. Which I can see where they would say that because when cps comes in they are there for a couple hours, not the entire time, not every night.


                        • #13
                          oh my, you are so far ahead of yourself in way of thinking, could you talk to the police officers and get written statements from them and ask if they maybe able to find some one to help you. best i can say is my prayers are with you young man, please stay on the track you are on, in time things will get better for you. i also say, let your mom and her boy pay their own bills and keep your money in bank for your future. maybe landlord could help you after they are evicted, and then foster care could be more of a reality for you then too. my prayers are with you young man.


                          • #14
                            Thank you for your prayers they are greatly appreciated.

                            Also one of the deputy sheriff's said he is going to go with me tomorrow after school when I go to the Cps office and talk to someone there.

                            I have to say that I do not feel it is the right thing to do right now as far as stop paying the rent and utilities. My mom's bf can get nasty, really nasty really fast. I fear what could happen when he finds out I am no longer paying for the things I am for them. I think it would be better just to keep doing what I am doing until I can get out. Then when or If I am out of the house it is up to them to do it their selves and not my problem anymore. It might sound selfish and I do care and worry about my mom once I will be gone but she led the both of us to this situation and I need to go with my choices to get myself out.


                            • #15

                              I wanted to give an update on my situation to anyone who was/is concerned.

                              On Monday October 1st(?), I went to the CPS after school, one of the officers went with me. When we went in and said why I was there they routed me to my usual case worker that has come to the home previous times before. I told her that I will talk to her but I would also like someone else to be there also, Someone higher up or just someone else as it would save me time from repeating myself again if talking to her had gotten me no where. She didn't give attitude when I requested that and got me one of the supervisor, from there they gathered the forms they needed and shut the door ready to hear me out.

                              I told them what was going on and had been going on for a while, I included about how they had come to the house but my mom would lie and also had their friends sticking up for them to make me and the others who called look like the storytellers in the situation.

                              I gave them complete details of what was going on what my Mom and her bf were doing to themselves, and to myself and what they weren't doing. They asked me several times over and over again "did they physically abuse you in anyway?" Even after answering No several times they still proceeded to find the need to ask me again. It was actually getting a little frustrating because I had begun to feel as if this attempt was failing before it ever got started. But I decided to see it out anyways.

                              I was in the office with them for about 3 hours when they told me they feel they have gathered up all they could pertaining to this situation and that her and the supervisor were going to have to step outside to discuss where to go from here. They also asked the cop out, I guess they wanted to speak to him outside of there since he wasn't asked much in the room with me.

                              They had left me there while they "discussed" for about an hour. There was a lot of things going through my mind, a big part of me was worried that they were phoning my Mom about all of this and if they did what would go down when I returned home. I tried to keep myself away from that thinking just to see it through, and I am pretty sure I broke the lady's pen while waiting.

                              After an hour they came back in and sat down they told me that with the "new" information and how it was a contrast to the stories and interviews they had there was nothing they could do immediately but that they did have "options" open. They told me I would have to stay there for a week waiting period till they could gather evidence of my side of the story. They also said that the officer talked with them and gave in the idea of setting me up with a Recorder & a video camera to try and record what is going on at home that the cps cannot see when they come in.

                              They said they cannot guarantee how far that evidence will get me but they said if it matches up the to side of my story that I told them that it will be a step in me being removed from the home.

                              I was told that at this point after the week waiting period and the evidence they gather that Foster Care would be my main options but they also said that if a Judge sees I am able to care for myself and have been even though I am still living with my Mom, she said that I was basically supporting myself and my mom and her bf when it comes to the means of living expenses. That he may put me on a probation period where I find my own place and continue to pay my own way, without being in foster care. she said that they do that RARELY and if it is done the probation period lasts between 90 days and 160 days and if in between those days the judge finds any evidence that I cannot handle it i will be placed back to foster care. She said that the judge considers things like this because it would save on me having someone else pay for me and then the foster home being paid to have me there and care for me. She couldn't promise this would happen.

                              I personally am for either option, a foster home gets me out of this place and in a way I kind of hope for it as I think it would help me grow a little more to be around a "family" and help them out. I have always wanted a younger sibling, however, in the home situation I think it was best that I never did get one.

                              After all the explaining they had me fill out some forms, write my "statement" out and sign a few things. I also asked them if I would need a lawyer for any of this that could happen and she told me nicely that they were there to do the fighting for me. She also told me that when I do go home tonight that I shouldn't mention being there to them and not give them a 'heads up" as it could make matters worse or else screw up the investigation they are doing.

                              Before I left there she actually apologized for the fact that she may have seen things one sided. I wasn't expecting that but I accepted it and knew that I am sure she sees a lot of cases and its probably hard to figure out which one is which time and time again.

                              That was on monday, today I went to the Post Office to check my mail (P.o box) and there was a letter in side saying I will be receiving more information about an "interview" with the Da. There wasn't more in the letter other than that and if i have questions to call or come into the CPS office. I don't know what that's about.

                              I did find out yesterday that she was in my school on friday while I was out on Work (Our school has a program where if your grades are high enough they let you out early to go to a job that they approve of), she was talking to teachers who called in or just knew me best. She also talked to a couple of classmates. None of them told me what was said nor did I ask. I believe that they knew enough of what was going to say. I don't know if that is a good sign of anything or just part of the investigation.

                              I hope to hear something soon on it, I plan to go in on Tuesday just to see what the letter is about. I don't think they're open tomorrow as its a Holiday.

                              I figured I would just give you and update on it, and I apologize it was long again I have a habit of rambling on forever. I also wanted to say Thank You to everyone who replied and gave me the direction I needed in helping my situation, I am well aware you respond in the best interest to other posts and get lashed out because of it. So I appreciate greatly everyone taking the time out to help someone else out.