Q: My dad and stepmom are verbally abusive to me and sometimes smack me, pull my hair, or once I got chocked. When my mom left at a young age my grandma was put on my legal guardian list as well as my grandfather and my dad. My aunt wants to call social services and get a social worker to check it out, should I let her do that or legally can I just live with my grandma. I’m scared that if she does call a social worker, they will refuse to let me leave and then it will just get worse. I am 15 years old. What should I do? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If you feel your home situation is abusive, and your parents will not agree to letting you live with your grandmother, your aunt may have no other choice but to call Children, Youth and Families. CYF will investigate. They will talk to you, your aunt, your grandmother and parents and anyone else. I am thinking that if they believe your allegations, they will advise to place you with your grandmother. This can be done in two ways. The first would be by family agreement, whereby everyone agrees that your grandmother has temporary custody. The second way, if the parties (your parents) don’t agree it would involve the filing of a petition for dependency, and have a judge find you to be dependent and placed. If CYF believes you are the victim of abuse, they will remove you immediately from the home and a shelter hearing will be held in 24 hours. At the shelter hearing, I think you have a great chance of being placed with your aunt. The courts make every effort to place dependent children with family, so I am pretty sure you would ultimately be placed with your grandmother at the dependency hearing. You and your aunt or grandmother can also call Kid’s Voice in Pittsburgh. They represent children and I am sure they will help. 412-391-3100.