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  • Not sure if this belongs in this forum or not

    Full disclosure: I'm fully in my niece's corner here. Our family has just recently become aware of the severity of her situation.

    My 17yo niece lives in the USVI and is threatening to run away to the States. She does have the money saved up for a one way ticket. She ran away a few months ago (didn't get far on an island) and her mom beat her when she found her and her father grabbed her by the hair and threw her onto her bed; the school reported it because of bruising (or at any rate, called the parents to talk to them, I'm not sure if they reported it to whatever their version of DCF is). The other day she and parents (intoxicated - both are alcoholics and her father uses pot in front of her but not her little sibling) had a huge blowup that culminated with her mom hitting her (but not bruising) and her father telling her that if it wasn't against the law he'd beat her. She stayed outside in the yard until 3am. She doesn't really want to go the DCF (or whatever) route because of her sibling and doesn't want to see h/im in the local foster care system. She swears that there is absolutely no abuse of the younger sibling. There are also other circumstances that I am not going into here. All the Stateside relatives will happily take them if they do wind up in the system and they can be sent out of the jurisdiction for placement.

    She wants to live with either set of grandparents or one of her aunts or uncles but her parents won't let her go. I'm concerned about what could happen to her or whatever relative takes her in. I'm not sure how repatriation works between the States and the USVI.

    She's also thought about emancipation, but she's not financially independent. Can she be declared emancipated if she moves in with relatives?

    I'd dearly love for this to be worked out before she finds herself in a position of changing schools during the school year, be it either by having to change schools due to being a ward of the court (she's in a private school now) or by flying back to the States and having to make a double adjustment.

  • #2
    Before I get any of the incredibly nasty responses that I have seen on this board, and should have taken notice of before I posted, I would like to request that only those with something pertinent to say respond. The preferred resolution for all involved, including her, would be for her to be living with relatives and finishing out her senior year in high school in safety, both mental and physical.

    I am not young, am a college graduate and would appreciate being treated with the same respect as any other human being deserves, and that does not include the belittling that I've witnessed on this board. My children would be grounded if they treated others the way that I've seen some posters treated here.

    I realize that I may have just gotten rid of any possibility of a decent, helpful response, but many of these responses are simply horrifying in their indifference to the feelings of others. When one feels the need to rebut a position or statement it should be with professionalism and not degradation.


    • #3
      Would her parents allow her to move with relatives?

      Her only option would be that and to work with Children & Youth, if they do remove her they may likely look towards other family members. THe excuse she doesn't want them involved because of the siblings isn't a good one, whose to say they won't be next if she is out of the way?

      I can't seem to find a statute for Emancipation for the Virgin ISlands, but even if so she would have to prove the courts she is self-supporting, and not likely living with relatives.


      • #4
        Unfortunately her parents will not let her voluntarily leave, and if she runs, coming up with the airfare to send her back would be difficult to come up with quickly, hence my concern of how repatriation works with the USVI. I know that generally the Interstate Compact for Juveniles has provisions for that but I can't find anything showing agreements with the USVI.

        If it wasn't for the lousy foster care system there, I'd say that going the DCF route would definitely be the best and we really worry about the younger sibling being on the receiving end of the same treatment once the older one is gone. At most, that concern would only be possibly allayed a year until college starts off island.

        I was pretty sure that emancipation was not even remotely close to viable in this situation because, while she has decent savings (almost $3000) for a high school student, that's barely two month's worth of expenses most places (if that) and she is not currently employed (at least not for money, she volunteers thirty hours a week at a hospital).


        • #5
          This link may help you.

          It also states that if the children are found at high risk abuse setting they will be removed and either placed with family, or in foster care if family isn't present.
          It also tells the steps that they will take to investigate the situation. .

          That seems to be her only option, running away will only get her into more trouble, and who ever she goes to stay with as well.
          Last edited by FlyinHawk; 07-21-2008, 12:57 AM.


          • #6
            Thank you. I've been on that site several times and never found that particular page. Its very helpful.

            This is an awful situation to begin with and seems worse for all parties being thousands of miles apart. She really doesn't want to report the pot because that could get her father arrested, but at the same time she fears for her own safety. She's certain that her sibling is safe, but I'm sure that same fear that the rest of us have for her continued safety is somewhere in the back of her mind.

            I've no idea if there is such a thing, but has anyone ever heard of a petition from a minor to a judge to be allowed to live with a relative without actually severing parental ties?

            Bedtime for me now or I'll be useless for my kids in the morning. I'll check back soon.


            • #7
              I'm not sure this will help your cause, but I know it won't hurt your cause. I am currently a foster parent in Kentucky and know that not all the foster care parents are concerned individuals. In your case I would have your niece go to DCFS (or her version of it) in the mean time you could also call them and tell them you (or which ever relative) would be willing to take her. Here is where the problem is going to come in, visitation. The court will order visitation even if supervised and the court will most likely order family therapy. I don't know how these will be overcome with her living in the states.

              If the abuse is as you state she needs to get out now. I also know that if she goes to a foster home and doesn't feel safe there the agency will move her IMMEDIATELY. She has to get her voice working. I know how hard that can be for some of these kids but she has to speak for herself.

              Unfortunately if they are like Kentucky she will be the only one removed. Her younger sibling will not be removed unless they are being abused also. Each child is treated as a separate case of abuse and unless each are being abused they will only remove the ones who are.


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