Can my niece legally move in with me?

Q: My 15-year-old niece gets taken advantage of at home treated like she’s a house maid cooking cleaning taking care of her younger siblings etc. how do we go about having her live with us. (Brentwood, PA)

A: If her mom and father agree to this, this type of temporary custody switch can be called a family arrangement. You will need to have affidavits or at a minimum, signed letters from the parents indicating their permission for you to have temporary custody and enroll her in a new school if necessary and attend to her medical and dental needs. If her parents object to the move, and they have a right to, things get more complicated. If a family arrangement cannot work, you can file a motion for temporary custody with the Family Division Motion’s Judge. You will need to serve the parents with the motion and notice of the hearing date. I would consult with an attorney if you do this. If you feel she is abused or neglected in her present home, you can involve CYF, but I would do that as a last resort. They will make every effort to place the child with family in situations where they remove a child which may result in the child being placed in your home. At that point, you may be eligible for foster care payments if you can be certified as a foster parent.

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.