Can I be forced to take my daughter?

Q: My daughter is 17 and will be 18 in six months. She has serious behavioral issues. She has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. She is in a psych ward now for locking herself in a teacher’s lounge at school and threatening harm. My ex-wife, who have full custody of her and my 15 year-old son, doesn’t want our daughter released to her and has said a court will force me to take her. I don’t want her. Can I be forced to take her? We can’t have her issues in our house. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: You cannot be forced to take custody of her. If your ex-wife will not let her in her home, or refuses to take her home from the hospital, CYF will be called to take temporary custody of her. You will be called and offered temporary custody as well. if you don’t want her, she will be placed in a shelter and eventually placed in foster care if found to be a dependent child. As a biological parent, you and the mother will be responsible to reimburse CYF for all the money it spends on her care if she remains in foster care. I suggest you and your wife seek help for her whether it is through the courts, the school, CYF, etc. My suggestion is to call KIDS VOICE in Pittsburgh.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.