• What can I do if I′m being abused or neglected?

    Date: 09.04.07 | by Judge Tom.

    The abuse and neglect of children in the United States is epidemic. Approximately 3 million reports of child abuse and neglect are made each year. Three children die every day at the hands of their parents or caretakers.

    • There were an estimated 686,000  children abused or neglected in 2012.
    • 52% of reported abuse victims are between ages 8 and 17.
    • In 2012, there were 1,640 reported deaths of abuse and neglect victims.

    Source: Department of Health and Human Services report of December, 2013.

    Abuse may be:

    • physical (acts that cause physical injury)
    • sexual (sexual activity that provides gratification or financial benefit to the perpetrator, or the person committing the abuse, such as sexual conduct, prostitution, pornography, or sexual exploitation), or
    • emotional (acts or omissions that cause mental disorders in a child).

    Neglect may be:
    • physical (including abandonment and/or failure to provide supervision, health care, adequate food,* clothing, or shelter)
    • emotional (including inadequate nurturance, or a disregard for a child′s emotional or developmental needs), or
    • educational (including permitting chronic truancy, failing to comply with student attendance laws or otherwise disregarding the child′s educational needs).

    Photo by Mundo Zeli

    Child abuse and neglect are against the law. If you witness or hear about an incident of abuse or neglect, you should report it to the police or Child Protective Services (CPS). Every state has mandatory reporting laws spelling out the legal obligations of teachers, doctors, social workers, and anyone responsible for children. An adult who fails to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child has violated the law.

    CPS is an agency of state government charged with the duty to investigate abuse, neglect, and abandonment cases. In most states, CPS provides services to families to help them to solve their problems and stay together.

    For example, parents may discipline their child, but if the punishments are excessive, leaving welts or bruises, the police and courts may get involved to protect the child. If a child is removed from the home and placed in foster care, services are offered to assist in reuniting the family. If the parents are unsuccessful in their efforts, or if they refuse to cooperate, the child may stay with relatives or remain in foster care or an adoptive home.

    If you′re in danger, or you know someone who′s injured or has been abused at home, tell someone you trust.  A teacher, school nurse, or police officer will be able to offer assistance. If a friend tells you that he or she has been sexually molested, tell a responsible adult. Here is an informative article by Assistant New York District Attorney Jill Starishevsky who has prosecuted hundreds of sex offenders and has dedicated her career to protecting children. “10 Reasons NOT to Discuss Child Sexual Abuse in 2012″ will open your eyes to reality and answers all of the excuses parents use NOT to discuss this with their children.

    You′re protected under the law when reporting suspected abuse or neglect. As long as you′re truthful in reporting, the law protects you from being sued. You may also report anonymously (without giving your name), although identifying yourself might help the investigation.  If you’re in danger of being abused or neglected or you know someone who is, you can call anytime of day or night the following:

    National Child Abuse Hotline:  1-800-252-2873

    ChildHelp USA:  1-800-422-4453

    A recent concern regarding childrens’ health are those who are obese. Read here for a view about taking custody of kids at risk due to their weight: ”Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids?”  http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/story/2011/07/Should-parents-lose-custody-of-super-obese-kids/49320358/1

    In October, 2011, an 8-year-old child was removed from his home in Ohio. The mother of the 200 pound third-grader was accused of not doing enough to control his weight. Government growth charts say most boys his age weigh around 60 pounds. The state agency reported that attempts over 20 months to work with the family failed and that the removal was based on medical neglect. It was approved by a judge. Sleep apnea and an increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure were concerns in the decision in this case. Names of the mother and child were not disclosed. Update: In May, 2012, the boy was returned home after losing fifty pounds. He was given a free gym membership, exercise equipment and a new scale. It’s up to his family to help him keep the weight off.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    63 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Carrie
      Fri, 16 Jan 2009 at 10:14

      First of all my daughter has never been a good parent. Her husband has stuck up for her in every wrong thing she has done. She has been on drugs and she has been on prescription drugs for years. She let her son quit school at 16 years old because she didn’t want to drive him and he hated school anyways. I could go on and on but too upset. I called her therapist because he is the one giving her prescription drugs at the moment. He said he couldn’t discuss it with me. I tried to tell him she is coming to him only for the prescription drugs. I told him how she smokes pot in front of her two high school kids and believe it or not so far they are really good kids. The therapist told me that sometimes people need prescription drugs to get well and I asked him does it take 15 years? That’s how long she has been on them. She sleeps all day and stays up all night. My Grandson has not a snowball’s chance making it in this world. I have begged him to go back to school. He says he’s going in the Navy but I don’t think he can do that if he doesn’t have a diploma. I am just sick.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Your concern for your grandson and attempts to help him in a difficult situation might be just what he needs to succeed. Knowing you’re there for him is stability and assurance that he is loved. Stay in touch with him if he joins the service. The best to you and your family.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • desha
      Tue, 06 Apr 2010 at 08:05

      Okay im am an 14 year old girl !
      My mother doesnt treat how i want to be treated imean she just acts like she doesnt care ! But when it comes to my 4 year old sister its everythinq ! Imean she yellls at me for no reason . tells me dont ask for nothinq , and that ineed to go with a family that wants me ! imean ijust dont understand ! Sometimes ijustw ant to runaway but ihave no wear to go to ! She’s ne ver there to take m anywhere ! And now she expecting me to pay her to take me places !
      Dear Desha: We are sorry that your home life isn’t what you’d like. Maybe you should try to calmly talk with your Mom and let her know how you feel and why. If that’s not possible, maybe a relative or someone else you trust could help you. Don’t run away because the dangers you’ll face are serious. If you’re in danger of being abused, contact your local Child Protective Services. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Aria
      Fri, 23 Apr 2010 at 11:56

      Okay, I have a 14 year old friend who lives with her father, her father has neglected her for years and her older sister has to take care of her (Feed her, buy her clothes and shoes, and take her places). Her father is a bit of a nutcase, If she doesn’t do the dishes, he throws them in the front yard! And he never finishes anything he starts, they’ve had a bathtub in they’re living room for three years, which is now on its end in the bathroom. And because of that they only have one working bathroom. Her brother lives with them as well, three people and one bathroom doesn’t work well. She is stuck there four days a week, she is not aloud to go for walks around the neighborhood or go out with friends, she spends all her time inside. She has also been home schooled all her life, but her father doesn’t teach her anything, so its like not being schooled at all. She wants to leave but is currently to scared. What should she do?
      Dear Aria: Under your state laws, if she is being abused or neglected, it may be a situation that Child Protective Services would look into. Generally, however, even if a family is as you describe, the living conditions wouldn’t merit interference by the state. You could speak with Child Welfare and explain what you know about the family. They would then decide if they can take action through a welfare check on the girl and interviewing her. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • kaleigh
      Sun, 09 May 2010 at 10:45

      idk what to do anymore my dad is completely insane and i cant leave bc im on tether form running away from my mom who neglected me now im stuck with my dad in which he is a recovering alchoholic and completly nuts. hes yells at me constantly and is a compulsive liar he doesnt even know what the truth is anymore he always calls me names and threatends me but the worst is when he tries to hurt me. i rly am stuck in a bad position cuz i dont want to get in trouble but im stuck with him with no where else to go. and when i say i wanna leave he prevents me its like complete havic over here
      Dear Kaleigh: If you are in danger of being abused at home, you need to report this to someone you trust. Tell a teacher or counselor at school or someone else that you trust such as a close relative or friend. You could also call Child Protective Services in your area. If you don’t know the number, call the National Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • heather
      Sat, 29 May 2010 at 11:42

      i am so stressed idk what to do! im 15 years old and live with my mom and younger brother but for the past almost two months its pretty much me and my brother living on our own. my mom has been staying at this guys house to help him bc he was in an accident and we see my mom maybe once a day but some days i dont hear from her and when i do she bearly talks to me. my brother is 13 so we can do stuff for ourselves but we run out of food and it takes a while before we can actually get it and im tired of being responsible for vrything and everyone! i clean the house everyday and everytime she comes home she manages to find something wrong with it, she wont take me to get my licence and im tired of doing nothing! i dont even want my mom in my life im tired of how she treats me and i have tried talking to her and nothing changes..sometimes i wish i could jus get taken from her…
      Dear Heather: Don’t give up on your Mom. She might be trying to do too much at one time, but everyone has to pitch in when help is needed. You’re doing great for yourself and younger brother. Be patient and hopefully your situation will improve soon. Keep talking with your Mom so she understands the stress you’re under. It might help to talk to other family members or adults you trust. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Chuliee
      Tue, 20 Jul 2010 at 05:20

      I’ve Been Abused Lately By My Brother. Funny Thing Is All My Mom Does Is NOTHING! She Yells At Him Then The Next Day She’ll Take HIS Side On Everything! He’ll Call Me Various Names And What Does She Do? NOTHING!I’ll Talk Back ‘Cause I Don’t Like People Trying To Put Me Down, I’m The Type To Defend Myself So Obviouslly I Respond Quickly But That’s What I’m Saying..No Matter What He Says Or How Badly He Leaves Me Bruise She Ends Up Taking His Side. He’s Been In Rehab Twice Because He’s Very Violent And He’s A Drug Addict. But My Mom Still Gives Him Money And Lets Him Go Out And She Never Does Anything! I Just Want Him To Go To Jail For Hitting Me And Leaving The Bruises He Did!
      Dear Chuliee: You didn’t mention your age but if you’re a minor [under 18] you have a right to be protected from physical and sexual abuse. Your state laws provide for your safety and a means of reporting incidents of abuse. Try talking to an adult who you trust about this – either an aunt or uncle, grandparent or a friend’s parent. If that doesn’t work then consider notifying your local authorities, either the police or Child Protective Services.
      The national helpline for Child Protective Services is: 1-800-422-4453 [ChildHelp USA] or 1-800-252-2873 [National Child Abuse Hotline].
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Felicia
      Sat, 31 Jul 2010 at 06:52

      i was fired from my nursing home job for neglect but they failed to report it do you think they will take this to abritraction
      Dear Felicia: You need to look at any papers you signed when you were hired. If you signed an employment contract, their are most likely provisions regarding termination of employment included. You are bound by the terms of the contract. If you’ve already been fired, as you say, then arbitration may not be available. If you have further questions you could contact a local employment lawyer. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Justin
      Thu, 26 Aug 2010 at 02:21

      My brother and his wife separated 3 years ago. She now lives with another man with her 3 kids and a 4th child she had with her new boyfriend. My brother gets the kids every other weekend, and they seem fine and healthy. But we have gotten two emails…One from HER friend, and one from HER own brother. The emails stated that the electricity has been going out because they don’t pay it. She keeps calling the electricity company to have it turned back on telling them that there are children living there. The emails stated that there is drug use being done by her new boyfriend in the house (apparently just pot) He also goes out often and is cheating on her. This has caused her to become a heavy alcoholic were she apparently spends most of the day crying and drinking. They stated that the house is not safe for the kids and they can run around as they please. The children are 12, 7, 4.

      I think it must be pretty extreme if her own brother sent us an email….Should I take action and contact social services if my brother(the dad) Isn’t doing it? Also will there be alot of trouble for me proving this is going on, considering all I have is emails, and who knows if her brother would testify in court etc? Help?
      Dear Justin: We’re glad you have enough concern for the welfare of these children to write us. You could suggest to her brother that he report what he knows to Child Protective Services [1-800-422-4453 - national hotline] or Google your state’s name and “CPS” for your local number. He can report anonymously. You could do the same. However your knowledge, as you said, is second or third-hand and may not be considered a priority for an investigation. If her brother has witnessed these events and the lack of care being provided in the home, his statement is more credible. Hopefully the children will remain safe. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • tamika Gueory
      Fri, 24 Sep 2010 at 08:03

      hello i have a 16 year old daughter who one day last week when i ask her to help me clean up so we can move she storm to her room and start throwing things i confronted her and told her to stop and she told me to get out the way so she can close her door i told not until she calms down and stop throwing things she preceded to push me and went i grab her she started to hit and kick me so i held her down on the floor and told her she need to go call her father and ask to saty with him long story short she ran out the house to a friends and didnt come back til 3 days later when she came back i told until she talks to her father the next day she is to sleep in our back room she said no and that she wanted to stay at the old house which we still had for the next to weeks but it had no electricity so my i had my husband her stepfather walk over to check on her and stay with her the night is this a form of neglect even when it was her choice to go there. and she had supervision
      Dear Tamika: Depending on the specific laws of your state, letting your daughter stay at your old house for a few days may or may not be considered neglect. Because every state has laws concerning the neglect of a child which includes not providing a child’s physical needs (food, shelter, clothing, supervision) or emotional needs, it would be best to avoid being uncertain about your situation and either bring your daughter back home with you or to her father’s house. Now that some time has passed since your argument, perhaps you could try calmly talking to her and ask her what she’s unhappy about and explain why you need her to stay at your house or her father’s house. Good luck to you and your family.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Gabrielle
      Mon, 25 Oct 2010 at 06:01

      My step father has been molesting me since I was about 11, I’m currently 17. My mother mother and I lived with him once, but we moved out after ten months. My mother and her husband are planning on moving back in together, but i’m honestly terrified. I never told my mother I was being molested. Mainly because I was afraid. I wasnt afraid of what my step father would do to me, I was scared of what my mother would do to me. If she didn’t believe me and kicked me out, where could I go? How would I finish my education? And as sick as this may sound, I’m scared to get my step father into trouble. How can I tell her this has been happening ? My mom has found me hysterically crying in the middle of the night thinking about it, but when she asked me what was wrong I told her I didn’t know and I just felt like crying. Not only am I terrified for myself, but I’m also terrified for my two year old brother. Where can I go for help ? If i tell a school guidence councelor or a teacher, who are they required to contact ? My biological father and I do not have a relationship, will I be thrown into foster care ? If they contact the authorities will they allow me to stay with a close friend, because my friend’s family has already offered me a couch to sleep on if i ever needed it. Thank you for your time.
      Dear Gabrielle: Unless you want the molestation to start over when he moves back in, you should take measures to protect yourself and your little brother. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with a school counselor or a friend’s parents, call ChildHelp USA. A school counselor or teacher are obligated under the law to report abuse once they become aware of it. ChildHelp is an organization that advises victims of abuse and neglect. Their web site is: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/get-help
      and their phone number is 1-800-422-4453.
      It is possible that you’ll be removed from your home and also possible that you could be placed with your friend’s family. That is up to the court. Good luck, Gabrielle.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • ella
      Fri, 29 Oct 2010 at 10:45

      Am I being sexually abused? My step father often touches my genitals and asks me to touch his, but he always says it’s to see how closely i shave, and the only reason he asks me to touch him is to see if he is smooth. He has back problems so he asks me to climb on his back to help crack it. when i do he begins to pull on my underwear and when i scream he says it helped him to get a better stretch. There was another time he asked to see my chest because he wanted to know what would happen to my nipples when they got hard. he proceeded to pinch and touch my nipples until the were hard. He called me sexy because i was wearing shorts and when im sleeping i’ll wake up to him touching my legs. he used to im me when i was younger to talk shit about my mother. i’m just wondering if this is considered sexual abuse or if im over reacting ?
      Dear Ella: First, you are not over-reacting. You didn’t mention your age, but if you’re under 18 this, in most states, is a crime. It is sexual abuse, possibly sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault or other crimes depending on your age and the circumstances. It won’t be long before he wants to have intercourse, with or without your consent. Ella, if you are a minor you need to report this to someone you trust – an adult relative, a school counselor or a parent of a friend that you’re comfortable talking to. You could also contact Child Protective Services – that’s why they exist, to protect chilren and teenagers from abuse and neglect. You can call 1-800-4-a-child or your local CPS office. Good luck. Don’t let this go any further.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Lynn
      Tue, 09 Nov 2010 at 08:52

      Just wanted to ask not sure there really any abuse going on but my granddaughter at two years old has a fit when she has to go to her dads every two weeks. She litterly freaks out when she has to go. When my daughter gets her back she acts up very badly. She dirty and it seems like the same clothes have been woren the whole time. My granddaughter will refuse to wear the clothes again unless she actually sees you washing them. Her dad lives with he’s parents who has a lot of dogs in the house. My granddaughter has been known to get sick coming back from her dads house. She able to start talking real well and this last time she came home with a bruse on her mouth saying her dad pushed her on the steps. She don’t neccessary call her dad by dad a lot of time just by he’s first name. There other things we see but when she sees him in public she fine with him. We just wondering if there concern or what to do. We are very concern about the histerical crying when she has to go and the many dogs in the house. Not sure what to do?
      Dear Lynn: Your concerns are legitimate and should be discussed openly with her father and grandparents. At the very least you or her mother can ask for an explanation regarding her clothes and the bruise on her mouth. Her behavior when she returns from a visit may be due to her age and adjusting each time to different households. Since she doesn’t display any fear or hesitation when seeing her father in public, there may not be anything to worry about as far as physical abuse. You can satisfy your suspicions, if you can call them that, by discussing this with family members and a local child therapist who might be able to offer suggestions in this regard. You might be able to obtain a free consultation for 30 to 60 minutes with a counselor. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Rebecca Moffitt
      Tue, 14 Dec 2010 at 05:25

      My granddaughter is being abused by her mother.
      She has given her two black eyes and pretended she fell.
      My GD wasn’t quite 2 at the time this happened withing a week of each black eye. And their are othe issues.
      I want to take her and leave town because I can’t stand to see her suffer.
      Dear Ms. Moffitt: If you have knowledge of a child being physically or sexually abused, it should be reported either to the police or Child Protective Services. You can call 1-800-422-4453 for the national hotline. They will direct you to your state’s hotline number. If you “leave town” with the child as you suggest, you could be charged with custodial interference or kidnapping depending on the laws in your state. You could also talk with a juvenile law or family law attorney for advice. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Brittany
      Fri, 31 Dec 2010 at 11:06

      my stepfather abused me beat me slapped me banged my head against tables and choked me. my mother called the police and when they got here she told a complete lie to them saying he did nothing, and i was the violent one when all i did was kick about 2 times to get him off of me and ripped his shirt. the police believed them because it was “two people against one” and they just left like nothing even happened and told me to stay home. i need to leave or get adopted, what should i do? was this right for the police to just leave me here when i feel unsafe?
      Dear Brittany: You didn’t mention your age but if you are under 18, every state has child protection laws. If you are in danger of further abuse or neglect you need to tell someone that you trust. Report what’s happening to a friend’s parent, a teacher or counselor in order to protect yourself. Here are some numbers you can call for help: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ocomm_root/CustomerServicePhoneNumbers.pdf
      You can also call the National Child Protective Services Hotline at: 1-800-422-4453 anytime night or day. Because the police believed your mother this time doesn’t mean they’re not available to you in the future. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • mlm
      Fri, 07 Jan 2011 at 02:19

      I have taken in a neighbors child who is 16 the guadian father signed papers for her to quit school we got intoa ged program now she refyses to go her mom died when she was 7 . she doesnt want to do anything but be on face book all night and sleep all day..we want to give her a better life when she is wakes up she says doesnt feel good.we want to apply for guardianship of her but how do we get her to go to school or get a job
      Dear MLM: You are faced with a difficult challenge. She may feel since she’s away from her father she can pretty much do as she pleases. You need to let her know the conditions of living with you, including school/GED program and/or work. Attending school may depend on the attendance laws in your state. But even if the age is 16 where the law doesn’t require her to go, it can still be a condition that you set for her as her custodian. If appropriate, a talk with her father may help the situation. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Nicole
      Mon, 07 Mar 2011 at 09:27

      My two oldest children, ages 10 and 11, just told me that 2 of their friends are being abused by their mother, verbally and physically. The boy and girl are siblings and the same ages as my kids. She also has a baby who is a year and a half old. According to my kids, these 2 kids told them this a couple of months ago – and my own children only now told my husband and I. My children also told me of one specific instance that occurred in my own home. One day this mother babysat my 4 children because I had to take my husband to the hospital for surgery. She brought all 3 of her kids with her. My 11 year old daughter told me that during the day, this mother locked her baby outside on my back deck (in the snow) for 5-10 minutes as punishment for him not listening to her! After she brought him inside she had my 2 older kids and her 2 older kids get towels and soak them in warm water to warm the little boy up. My daughter also saw the mom drinking wine in my kitchen that morning, when she was the only adult watching 7 kids. Another day, this mom brought her 10 and 11 year old to our house for a sleepover with our kids. The following morning when their mom came to pick them up, the girl was hiding in our upstairs bathroom. My daughter went in there to tell her that her mom was here, and she pulled my daughter in with her and said that her mom yells and hits her and her brothers and she doesn’t want to go home with her. She was crying. At the time I just thought the kids were having fun and that was the reason this girl didn’t want to go. Now that my daughter told me about the abuse, more things make sense to me. Things I never thought twice about, like how her kids were always ravenously hungry when they came over. How we never were invited to come to their house, she always brought her kids to ours. How her son gets so many bumps and bruises and at age 10 weighs barely 50 lbs. I am sickened that I let this woman into my house and near my own kids. She never did or said anything out of line to me or around me, but I still feel like such an idiot. Anyway, I have looked up and written down my local ChildLine number, however I have 2 questions before I make the call. First, can I report anonymously? I’ve heard each state differs on this. I live in Pennsylvania. I ask about anonymity because I have my own family to keep safe and I don’t want my children dragged into this situation. Secondly, this mother and her children recently moved in with her new boyfriend, and I do not know their new address. I know her full name, boyfriend’s full name, children’s names and birthdates, as well as where the mother and boyfriend both work, and the name of the new school the children attend. Would this information be enough to help them track down a street address on this abusive mother?
      Dear Nicole: In most states you can make an anonymous report to either the police or Child Protective Services (CPS). As long as it’s made in good faith, you’re protected under the law from being charged with false reporting or invasion of privacy. You have enough information to pass on so an investigation can be completed. If you want further explanation of the process, call your local CPS office and ask about anonymous reports. Your state number is 1-800-932-0313 and the National CPS Helpline is: 1-800-422-4453. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Shaneece
      Fri, 25 Mar 2011 at 11:36

      i have a friend and the other day she was beaten pretty bad by a family member who is legally and adult while my friend is still a minor we live in new York and she’s not sure what she should do she’s very afraid and she’s scared to come out of her room since the family member is temporarily living with her during the altercation she was chocked pulled on the floor by her hair and received bruises on her knees and has been complaining that her head and neck hurt because the family member hit her there this family member is very dangerous and has assaulted people before she even picked up an iron and other things to throw at my friend and no actions were taken against her but my friend did threaten her with a knife to keep her away from her would this be considered child abuse because the family member pulled some of my friends hair out and beat her in the head and also what can she do because she feels unsafe in her own home.
      Dear Shaneece: You didn’t mention your friend’s age but being a minor means she has the law on her side. The beating you talk about should be reported to either the police or Child Protective Services (CPS). You can contact the Silent Witness program in your police department if you don’t want to inform them of your name. You can also make anonymous referrals to CPS. The important thing is that she be protected from further assaults. The national helpline number is: 1-800-422-4453. It’s called ChildHelp USA and they will put you in touch with a local CPS office. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kathy
      Mon, 04 Apr 2011 at 01:56

      I am the grandmother of a 4 month old girl.
      My daughter and her husband lived with me for over 6 months.
      In this time I had pointed out several events in which their daughter was being neglected. She was not bathed on a regular basis, they applied infant tylenol to her pacifier to make her want to take it. They swaddled the pacifier into her mouth over night so she would not spit it out and them have to get up to give it to her. When I pointed out that this was unsafe, I was told to mind my own business.
      Upon entering their living space I found several dirty diapers (10 – 20) old banana peels crushed soda cans empty pizza boxes and the list goes on. This has happened on more than 1 occassion.
      My son in law was recently discharged from the military because he was diagnosed as being bi polar and is very rough with the baby. plopping her onto the couch to change her diaper. bouncing her in her bouncer to the point that her head is bouncing around very hard. And the list goes on.
      They have since left the state and given power of attorney to my ex husband and step mom. This is fine but they still do not feel they have done anything wrong.
      They will not get the help they need to raise a happy healthy child. Would it be in this child’s best interest to go for guardianship?
      My concern is that they can come back to the state and take her at anytime and there will be nobody to monitor this childs wellbeing as she will be out of state.
      Dear Kathy: Your concern for the child’s welfare is commendable. You might share your observations regarding their care of the baby with your ex-husband if he doesn’t already know. Now that they have custody, they also have a responsibility to see that the baby is safe and protected. If they deem it appropriate they can file for guardianship under the laws of their state. You may be able to do the same. Any legal action should be discussed with a lawyer. In an emergency, contact Child Protective Services or call the national helpline at 1-800-422-4453. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ashley Van Buren
      Sat, 30 Apr 2011 at 07:01

      I have two brothers who are 14 & 7. Currently my mother is running with them and keeping them out of school and doesn’t keep a stable roof over their head. Also there are other things that are hard to prove to law enforcement such as my mother’s violent outbursts and keeping food from my brothers on different occasions. She also makes the 14 year old take care of the 7 year old and leaves them alone for hours at a time with no phone or any way to contact anybody if something happened.

      I believe my 14 year old brother because my mother did the same thing to me and I had to run away to get away from and still she tried to get me back after I turned 18 and she tried kidnapping my baby after I had her when I was 19. My mother is just unstable and my brother is willing to tell anyone who will help but we are all running out of hope.

      I have contacted several abuse hotlines and they say call this number and I do and it is a never ending cycle. I finally called CPS and the police. She kept moving back and forth between Texas and Wyoming and keeps evading the law. The police have investigated it and said since there are no physical bruises and there is food in the fridge, they have no reason to take them away. One officer told my brother it is okay to beat your kids as long as it is not too bad.

      My brother is being isolated and trying to ask for help. I don’t know what to do for him. I would love any suggestions please help me.
      Dear Ashley: We’re sorry to hear about your brothers’ circumstances. Perhaps you and your 14 year old brother could try to calmly talk with your Mom and let her know how you both feel and why. If she fully understands how much her choices are negatively impacting your brothers, maybe she will try to make some changes. You could try talking to another adult or relative that you trust. If your mom agrees to your brothers living with another adult, they could move to a different household. You and your brother also could document as many specific instances of mistreatment (abuse and/or neglect), so that you have clear examples to present to the police and Child Protective Services. Since your mom continues to move from state to state, here is the number for the National Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Take care of yourself and best of luck to you and your bothers.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Michael
      Thu, 05 May 2011 at 08:31

      Ok..so my 16 year old girlfriend( dating for over a year) has an emotionally abusive family. They are also very physical with her little brother. They have had cps called on them many times now, but whenever CPA gets there, the parent always makes up an excuse, ad always acts to good.like it’s a perfect family. The 7 year old brother has been in and out of the psych center, and he is starting to throw tantrums again. Nothing is wrong with him(mentally or physically) and the psych center says he’s fine…but hes getting worse, and now he’s even starting to crap everywhere. The parent usually ignores him until he starts hitting them, then they yell at him, saying to go die and stuff like that. She’s the one that cooks, cleans, wakes everyone up, and takes care of her brother. She’s the “mother” of the house. She has talked to her guidance officer at school and even the cop stationed there. They have been NO help at all. And she has new bruises everyday because her brother hits her.( he’s 7) please help?
      Also, in my earlier message, I forgot to mention that her dads twin brothers are both murderers, and the dad doesn’t listen to her. So talking to him will not help. He has custody of her, doesn’t want to live with her mother, who is dating a rapist. She wants to move in with her 27year old sister, but he won’t sign the papers if she asks.

      Dear Michael: Your concern for your girlfriend and her little brother is commendable. Neither of them should be experiencing what you’ve described. She needs to continue reporting every incident and taking pictures of any marks or bruises left on them. She could tell the school nurse and principal and see if they can help them out. She can also contact ChildHelp USA at 1-800-422-4453. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Samantha
      Thu, 26 May 2011 at 08:05

      When i was 14 my dad had a women he had been dating from the Philippines and her son move in with us. The first time i meet them was when they moved in. I tried to be nice but she was not accepting of how American families work. She spazzed out when ever my sisters or I would ask for money. Within 3 months they got married (because that was the visa time limit).
      One weekend my dad and them went out of town to our cabin and I told him my plan was to have my mom sleep over at our house (I had my school play that weekend so it would cut driving costs). He said no; when i got home from school that Friday I was locked out of the house and a bag of my things was in the unlocked junker car in the driveway. The bag had all the random junk from my bed in it: 5 pair of pants, one shirt, no underwear or socks.
      His wife could never stand my mother (my fathers ex-wife) being on the property. I got fed up with all of them and ended up living at my aunts (my mother eventually moved in with my aunt too) for 10 months. My aunt wasn’t that nice and held everything over my head, she had double standers for me compared to her own kids. She came home from work most of the time in a pissed of mood and would freak out about the smallest things. My cousins would speak to me in a condescending tone like i was below them and trashy.
      (15 now) I got kicked out, which was good because I hated it at my aunts. They sent me back to my dads. The day they returned me my dad didn’t open the door till the cops he called arrived. My aunt was almost ready to call the cops too. The cop that came had had to deal with my dad not letting my older sister in before. My day tried to pawn me off on social services, or something but that did work. I ended up in a room that was filled with junk and only had about 12 sq feet to walk on. School wise he(or my uncle) drove/picked me up from school for two days. My dad didn’t drive me to school one day and the next day my mom had to take me to switch schools back to my old school because he wouldn’t.
      Over the next 6 weeks I was never invited to any meals and he made me sign a contract that made me agree to chores and it also said:
      My sister, mother and aunt are not allowed on the property or in the house (this is something i cant control).
      Do not take anything (including dishes) out of the house.
      Do not miss the school bus.
      No friends are allowed over to the house.
      You must provide any rides you need.
      The door is locked at 8:00 p.m. be home by then.
      Use the computer at the library, not the one at the house.
      No moving things without permission (this was referring to the incident when i moved some boxes out of the room i was staying in.)
      We need your respect and good behavior.
      You are not allowed to argue.
      He got angry when I said my mom had the other copy. He also told me I was not allowed to go through the window (the house is a split level and my room was in the basement). To prevent me from using the window he screwed the window shut from the outside. One day I came home from hanging with a friend at the library and I was locked out. I had to spend the night at her house.
      My dad and his wife were leaving to the Philippines for a month and he planned on having my uncle watch the house, pets, and me. When he had lived with us before there were issues with him watching porn in the living room. I ended up staying with my friend that I had previously spent the night at when I had gotten locked out. After he returned back from his trip I was also back at the house within a week or so. I only stayed there for a week. No one there talked to me and I was still never invited to any meals. So I left back to my friends house, my dad didn’t stop me at the door.
      I am now turning 16 in a month and have been living at my friends house for the a total of the past 7 months. My dad hasn’t given the family any money ever or even met them. When ever I would email or text my dad he wouldn’t respond until after messaging him multiple times. This was a concern when I need my insurance info for my summer job.
      Our state (Minnesota) has a program called PSEO that I plan doing where you can go to college (even live on campus and in the dorms). My middle sister did this. Now that I am old enough (going into my junior year). I have been accepted into the same school she goes to. I planned on living in a dorm but I wont be able to get the money from my dad or the contract in in time. My sister said I could stay on her couch (she just turned 18 a few moths ago). She also told me to report him but I am worried that if I go to social services they wont let me do this program. Is whats happening to me considered child neglect/abandonment?
      Dear Samantha: We are very sorry to hear about your situation. You definitely need to talk to an adult you trust about your circumstances whether it’s your mom, a friend’s parent, another relative, a teacher or school counselor. Your father is legally responsible for you until you turn 18, so if your basic needs aren’t being met, it may be considered neglect under your state’s laws. Reporting your father does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to enroll in the program. Please take care of yourself and let an adult know what’s going on. You also can call one of the numbers listed above in the article.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alice
      Thu, 02 Jun 2011 at 04:24

      I am 17 yeras old, and i live in Miami Florida. I dont live with my parents, i live with my grandparents. I dont go to school anymore because i have been having so much trouble in school that i cant focus at all. My grandparents are telling me to get out of their house since im not going to school and my dad told me that i should cut my veins and tells me alot of hurtfull things and i cant go live with him because he is moving to another country and living with him is alot of problems. Currently there is a dcf investigation going on with my stepdad and i cant live with my mother either because of that and because living with her causes me alot of emotional problems. I feel like im being emotionaly abused by my father. I asked to be allowed to go work and he wont even let me do that. I really need to become emancipated to move on my own and start working. I have been researching emancipation and i already know the rules and all of that, but im having trouble because i dont have anyone to take me to a court and i dont have a lawyer or anything like that. I was wondering if there is a way that i can file an Emancipation form online and send it to a judge. I dont have any way of going to a court and file a form of emancipation in person. where do i start? HELP
      Dear Alice: We suggest that you Google the name of your local court to see if they have a website. Many courts do and some include online forms to complete and file. There may be a filing fee and it may not be necessary to appear just to file for emancipation. Before you do this, however, take a look at the following which spells out the law in Florida for applying for emancipation:
      http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0743/Sections/0743.015.html
      It is not an easy status to obtain because of the requirements that you must meet. Since you’re 17, it may be better to wait until you’re 18 when you become an adult. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Angel
      Fri, 19 Aug 2011 at 10:50

      Hello, My name is Heather.I’m going to start in the beginning so you understand,It starts when I was 5 years old,My mother had a husband who was a alcoholic and abusive,He would beat me and my mother,watch me as I slept, and try killing me in my sleep (so I was told by my mother).Well my now ex-step father (the abusive one) would emotionally, psychically ,and mentally abuse me.My mother (after 9 years of me AND my brother telling her to leave him) she finally left him after he hit my grandmother.She then started being mentally abusive to me and and every time I confront her about it she denies that she isn’t she says things sometimes like “Your just like Floyd (my abusive ex stepfather)”.or ” it’s because of you my life is hell”.After a few years my mother got married again (June 2011) to someone she knew for a long time.He acts like his 4 (hes 37 or 38 ).He buys transformer collectible toys, simpsons collectibles or dirty stuff for him and my mother (I know this because they talk pervertedly almost all the time).Recently my mother has became sneaky and secretively,she hides everything I need to know like if I have a doctors appointment or if we have to be somewhere.I’ve been to a shrink actually I’m suppose to see her every two weeks (last went March,4th 2011).Every time it comes to me asking about a doctor’s appointment or If I could go to a doctor soon she says “I don’t have the money.” She was medically retired as of Feb. 15th and has chirai malformation (a brain disorder were her brain is basically to big for her skull,) And PTSD like me.We both have it serverly but mine is along with bipolar and severe depression.Recently, my boyfriend moved back to Kentucky to work so we can be supported if we ever become more than boyfriend/girlfriend.Well,my mother agreed I could visit him on weekends or something we planned for me to visit as well to him visiting me.My boyfriend has told me he would send money for me and her if she wanted to go with me to get a bus ticket to see him and back,(no money needed for us place to stay,food etc.paid for).I’ve asked her politely if we could visit him.She said that we can when we get the money.Here’s the thing I found out my mother told my boyfriends step-mother I won’t be coming until I have my GED and at least a 2 or 4 year college degree.I am a drop-out and I’m getting my GED soon my choice was that I wanted to wait a year to think and decide what I really want to be involved in to actually think it threw and if I decide sooner I’d enroll and do what I have to do.Now my mother and me CONSTANTLY fight and it’s gotten to the point she makes me fully depressed when my mother is mentioned I overly eat always and I criticize myself out loud (calling myself ugly,fat,worthless etc.).All the money goes to junk food like breakfast hot pockets,microwave pizza’s cookie cake,milk,noodles etc or bills that still have to be paid.I’ve reacted the point were I’m tired of her controlling my life.I’m tired of being depressed because she gets to me.I’m tired of laying awake at night thinking she’s going to come in and kill me.I want out I don’t care if I hurt her feelings I’m tired of being controlled.My education and life is for me and ONLY me to make not her.So how do I get out? What do I do? People keep telling me to runaway even though i keep telling them im not going to. or call CPS,i get so scared to call them.I honestly feel safer at my friends house in Kentucky.Extra information:I’m 16 and I live in Louisiana.help me please help me get free.

      Additional Details.
      I want to go to college in Kentucky I want to go to one school and stay there not move and transfer every where I go.I know Education is very important which is why I’ve made a goal to get my GED and go to college.I want to be the best I can be and I know I can do better then beauty school.As I said I have a friend in Kentucky who says I can live with her.I just have to get away from my mother.Note: She lives near a lot of good college in Kentucky hence why I’d like to live with her.
      Dear Angel: We’re very sorry to hear about your situation. Perhaps you could try sitting down with your mom and having a heart to heart and tell her how you feel and why you would like to live with your friend. Maybe if she understands your struggles with living at home and the educational opportunities for you in KY, she may be willing to let you live with her. If she agrees to let you live with your friend, then there shouldn’t be a problem as long as your friend is 18 or you live with her and her parents. You need to talk to another adult you trust like your counselor (even if you don’t go to the appointment, try calling your counselor to talk), another relative or a friend’s parent about the situation. If you are being abused in any way, you need to call the National Child Protective Services hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Good luck and please take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • erika
      Sat, 20 Aug 2011 at 04:18

      i have a friend that is just 12 years old and she is getting abuse physically by her brother of 18 years old. i found out about this one day that i saw her crying outside of school and i guess she trusted me bacause she told me what was goin on in her house and i told her that whenever she needed somthing that she could of just come to my house or somethin… and after that day i though that everything got better because she didnt mension anything no more till now that she came to my house crying because her brother was hitting her and puching her and she want to know what could it happen in this situassion because she said that she just dosnt feel safe in her house no more and that she doesnt want to be there… she also told me that she alredy called the cops before but they never do anything about her they just get her in more trouble for sniching soo i dnt think that there is something that you cannot do about this situasion… soo what could or what should she do??
      Dear Erika: First, you should tell an adult you trust about your friend’s situation whether it’s your parents, a teacher, school counselor or another relative. It’s important that a trusted adult know about what’s going on so they may be able to help. Your friend should do the same although she may be scared to talk to an adult, again it could help her situation improve. Ask her whether she’s told anyone else and if there is an adult in her family, at school, etc. that she trusts and feels comfortable with. Maybe if she sat down with her parents and told them about what’s happening, they could put an end to the abuse by her brother. Encourage her to tell someone. Finally, she could call the National Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. CPS will investigate the matter and look into what’s going on in her home. Good luck to your friend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tanya
      Tue, 30 Aug 2011 at 06:23

      How long after sexual abuse has happened, can a doctor tell that it has in fact occurred? I have a 1 year old son and a 2 year old daughter who are both acting strange. We were living with a friend of mine for 3 months. Both of them are showing emotional signs now that something like this could’ve taken place… but it’s been almost 2 weeks that we have been away from my friend’s place. I am not sure, I don’t want to falsely accuse him especially after he helped us out. But still would like to get them checked out to make sure. My question is since time has passed… and if something has happened…. will a doctor still be able to tell? what should I do?
      Dear Tanya: Anytime a parent or caretaker suspects physical or sexual abuse of a child, a medical doctor should examine the child. Even after several weeks, there may be indications or evidence of inappropriate sexual activity that the doctor will be able to detect and explain to you. Forget your ‘friend’ and seek help for your children immediately.
      (This is information only – not legal or medical advice).

    • T
      Wed, 28 Sep 2011 at 03:48

      My Dad has been abusing me ever since He got back from werever he went off too for the majority of my life. Instead of saying that i had done wrong, he slaps me, punches me, pushes me down, or pulls me by the hair. This has been happening for three years now. What should I do?
      Dear T: No child or teenager should be abused in any way: sexually, physically or emotionally. Every state has laws against child abuse and procedures in place to protect them from abusers even if they are the parents. You need to report the abuse to the police or Child Protective Services (CPS). A national helpline you can call is 1-800-422-4453. This is the ChildHelp USA number and they will put you in touch with your local CPS office. You can also report this to a counselor at school or another adult that you trust. The authorities will investigate to see if your father’s discipline is within the law and doesn’t constitute “abuse” as defined in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ashley
      Fri, 07 Oct 2011 at 11:14

      Im 19 years old and living with my mother and 12 year old brother. My mother is an alcoholic and it never used to be bad but a couple months ago it started getting so bad that I cant even consider her my mom anymore. She is seeing someone for help but will never admit she even drinks even when I catch her doing it and when I do she gets mad. Now I understand that I am perfectly capable of leaving, and if it werent for my brother I would, but I refuse to leave my brother. Due to her alcoholism, I have basically raised my brother, I consider him my son. I want him to be out of this sitution because she doesnt seem to want to get better or help herself, so my only option is to make his life better. The thing is if I call child services, im scared that they will take him away completely and put him in a foster home, and he has said he would rather stay and deal with mom than be taken away from me, he said that he either lives with me or he stays with mom. But im so worried about him. My mother has a histery of suicidal episodes, she neglects to feed him or give him his adhd medicine if im not there, she does not take care of any of her responsibilities, and she often has episodes of going completely crazy and breaking down on the floor for hours screaming and crying beforw she passes out. He shouldnt have to go theough this but I dont want to gi against his wishes. Is there anything I can do to make sure I get custody?
      Dear Ashley: We’re sorry to hear about you and your brother’s situation at home. Perhaps you and your brother could try to calmly talk with your Mom and let her know how her choices are negatively impacting your brother. Maybe if she understands the extent of how your brother is affected by her behavior, she will try to make some changes. If your mom agrees to your brother living with you or another adult, the two of you could move to a different household. You and your brother also could document as many specific instances of mistreatment (abuse and/or neglect), so that you have clear examples to present to the police and Child Protective Services. CPS would work to place your brother with another relative first including you (if you can support him and yourself). The number for the National Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Take care of yourself and best of luck to you and your bother.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sydney
      Sun, 09 Oct 2011 at 10:50

      My parents recently got a divorce and my dad and I have always had a dysfuntional relationship, so I wanted my mom to have full custody of me. When they got divorced I didn’t talk to the judge that day because they would have just kept arguing about it if I did and they wouldn’t be divorced. So now I am required to go to my dad’s place every other weekend. I went this weekend and i decided to just ignore him completely because every time we talk, we’re arguing. I was sitting on the couch listening to my ipod ignoring him. He got mad and starting yelling at me but I didn’t pay attention. I just turned up my ipod. He then starting screaming at me louder. Then he yanked my headphones off of my head and threatened that he was going to throw it away if I continued to ignore him. I forcefully put my headphones back on and continued to ignore him. He leaned in again towards me like he was going to pull them off again or even hit me, so I leaned back into the couch dodging him. And I yelled for him to leave me alone and to stop. He finally did, but I was scared afterwards. I went outside and called my mom and talked to her about it. I cried when I was trying to tell her about it. I am afraid of him and I don’t want to go over there anymore. He’s never really cared about me. I believe he just doesn’t want to have to pay any money. That’s why he’s keeping me. Is this considered abuse or neglect? I have plenty more to tell but I don’t want to be a burden. Thanks.
      Dear Sydney: We’re sorry to hear about your situation and how you’re feeling. While physical abuse is easier to define, emotional and verbal abuse are not as clear and even the courts may struggle to define when such abuse is occurring. It’s good that you tell your mom about these events and when you feel uncomfortable or scared. Perhaps you could also try speaking with a school counselor. Maybe if you tried sitting down and calmly talking to your dad about how you feel, he would understand where you’re coming from and make more of an effort to have a good relationship with you. Keep in mind that it goes both ways and if your dad is willing to make an effort and try to make things better, you will have to meet him in the middle by also making an effort. If you’re uncomfortable talking to him, you could try writing him a letter and again, calmly and respectfully explain to him how you feel. Finally, if you’re in fear of your safety and don’t know what to do, you can call the National Child Service Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Eileen
      Wed, 12 Oct 2011 at 09:12

      My granddaughter, who is now 10 years old, refuses to see her father. She claims she has been sexually abused, but no one seems to believe her. She now has her own attorney, her mother and father each have their own attorney. My granddaughter has seen the judge, who does not believe my granddaughter. She refuses to go to school on the days her father is picking her up from school. I have been to my daughter’s house on these days and have tried to convince her to go to school. She is to meet her father, along with her paternal grandmother at a public place three times. When her grandmother picks her up, she does not take my granddaughter to the public place where they are to meet. This was set up by the judge. I don’t know where to turn for help.
      Dear Eileen: We suggest that you pass this information on to your granddaughter’s lawyer. He or she needs to know what’s going on so she can be properly represented in court. Her attorney’s job is to look out for her best interests and advise the court of her position regarding custody and visitation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Damonica Bond
      Fri, 04 Nov 2011 at 07:51

      iam a 14 year old teen , ive been malested b my god father , beat on by my grandparents and im currently with my mom who beats me , she threatens to kill me and beat me and put me in a foster home , my real dad is trying really hard to come rescue me but she wont let him , im scared for m safety and i dont know what to do , she still beats me , m older sister abuses me to and doesnt get in trouble my mom takes her side , ive been stressed out and depressed and ive attempted suicide because i hate it hear , is there any way the police can escort me from the house to where my dad can come get me so i can be safe and happy again ? someone please help me :(
      Dear Damonica: No one has the right to abuse you – physically, psychologically or sexually. If you’re in danger you should report what’s happening to an adult you trust such as a teacher, school counselor, parent of a friend, relative, or the police or Child Protective Services. There is help in these situations but you have to ask for it. Someone has to be aware of what’s happening to you at home. You can call the national ChildHelp line at: 1-800-422-4453 anytime of day or night. The same goes for 911. Whatever is going on, Damonica, we care about you and so do a lot of other people. Suicide is not the answer. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. This is a confidential resource for you to get help and LIVE. Your life has just started and it will get better for you. But you must speak out and not keep everything to yourself. All the best, Damonica.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Vanessa
      Mon, 14 Nov 2011 at 06:22

      My uncle is currently divorcing his wife of 6 yrs. she was cheating on him and then she ran off with him and left their 2 kids and my uncle…now I don’t have a problem with that but I do have a problem with her now boyfriend. See my uncle has 2 little girls ages 3 and 5. and the smaller one says that the man touched her and that he hurt her down there. She is 3 so Im pretty sure she is not lying also the oldest one says that the man touches her mommy in front of them and that he hits and screams at her. My uncle is scared to call cps because he fears that he wont get to see his children again (he is not the abuser) please help any kind of advice will help. (houston Tx)
      Dear Vanessa: We’re glad you’re looking out for the welfare of these young girls. Assuming the girls are telling the truth, this guy should not be with them especially when no one else is around. Touching them in a sexual manner is just the beginning. Someone has to notify the police or Child Protective Services to put an end to this. Either you, their father or both of you can report this. Your uncle may also want to speak with a lawyer who practices family or juvenile law. He can go to court and obtain an order of protection against the boyfriend that prevents him from having any contact with them. Many courts around the country offer free legal advice to the public by lawyers who donate their time. You can contact your local court and ask about this program. Good luck. Do whatever is necessary to protect these girls.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jhonathan
      Fri, 30 Dec 2011 at 06:08

      Yeah my dad is always neglecting me like he doesn’t even care bout me or even love me. Like he always picks on me calling me fat and all this plus he always screams at me for no reason. Another thing is he doesn’t even buy me the things I need he only buys the things that he likes. Also he always says ti me go with your mom it’s like he doesn’t want me there. Plus when he says he loves me he doesnt mean it nd when I do nice things for him he never smiles at me or says thank you. But sure to my big brother he does it nd he always has money for pickup trucks but never for his kids. Like my mom is the only person that actually buys me clothes and everything and he doesn’t nd especially my mom really has no money because she’s in debt unlike my dad which has alot.
      Dear Jhonathan: We’re sorry to hear of your situation at home. Maybe you can talk calmly with your Mom & Dad about living with your Mom. If he’s serious when he tells you to go to your mother’s home, maybe you can reach an agreement that’s satisfactory to everyone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Liz
      Tue, 03 Jan 2012 at 12:57

      My 8 year old nephew often returns home from his fathers house with bruises and fat lips. He says that he is just wrestling with his 14 year old step brother and that is how he gets the bruises.. He did confide in me once that a bruise on his back was from when his step mother when she tried to make him go downstairs and he pulled away from her and hit his back on the fridge. Almost every time He comes back to his mothers house he has bruises, a fat lip, or hemorrhage marks on his arms and this concerns me. His mother takes photos of the bruises and is also concerned about him but she has not called cps. She has informed the father but he says boys will be boys. I’m not sure if this is just considered roughhousing among siblings. I have three kids of my own and they rarely ever leave bruises on each other after roughhousing. Am I being overly protective of my nephew or should I call cps myself if his mother won’t? I don’t want to cause unnecessary drama but I am concerned about my nephews welfare at his fathers house.
      Dear Liz: You have a right to be concerned about your nephew’s welfare. An occasional injury on a child is normal, as you know. But repeated injuries are reason to investigate further. We can’t tell you what to do or how to proceed, but keeping the child’s welfare first and foremost in mind is key. An investigation by the police and/or Child Protective Services may get to the bottom of what, if anything, is happening when he visits his father. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Maria
      Fri, 20 Jan 2012 at 05:08

      Hey my name is Maria nd yeah I know one of my friends is struggling with his stupid dad. Like his dad always picks on him nd his little brother nd my friend at school always tells me that he wants to move with his mom. Since he always protects his older son nd not his youngest nd plus he threatens him that hell take him to the military. When really I think his dad should just either go to jail or not allowed with his kids. Screaming at him for stupid things like once. When I came over his dad try talking to me but I dont like his dad because of how he treats him. Nd plus his whole family treats him like crap so what should I do to help my friend oh I forgot one last thing his dad use to spank him with the belt naked or with a stick please help!!!!
      Dear Maria: Perhaps your friend could try sitting down and calmy talking with his dad and his mom, either together or separately, about how he feels and how he would like to live with his mom. If everyone agrees to this arrangement, then there shouldn’t be a problem. But if there are court orders in place giving custody to his dad, then his parents would have to go back to the court to get the custody orders modified. If your friend believes he is being abused or neglected, he needs to call Child Protective Services at 1-800-422-4453. You may want to encourage him to talk to an adult he trusts about the situation whether it’s your parents, a school counselor or another relative. Take care and good luck to your friend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jhonathan
      Sat, 04 Feb 2012 at 03:45

      Yeah sorry if Ive done this twice but my dad really doesn’t know to quit abusing and neglecting me already like. The other day a police man came to our house and my dad told a complete lie saying that me and my little brother always play video games and do nothing around the house. But me and my brother always do everything around the house and the reward we get is food. He never gets us clothes school supplies always never has money for his kids but yet he has money for pickup trucks. I don’t wanna call the police because I’m too scared what he might do to me or the national abuse hotline. His name is Ricardo P Garcia he lives in 207N 800W Orem,Utah 84057 please help me I’m desperately needing help ASAP.
      Dear Jhonathan: We are very sorry to hear about your circumstances. You need to immediately talk to an adult you trust about your circumstances at home. This may be another relative, a friend’s parent, teacher, school counselor or church member. They will be able to help you. It’s extremely important that you and your little brother are not in a dangerous situation or abusive household. If you call the National Child Protective Services hotline, you can report any abuse or neglect anonymously and your dad would not know what led to CPS investigating the living situation at your house. Here is the phone number: 1-800-422-4453. Please take care of yourself and your little brother. Talk to an adult you trust or call the number above.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Nathan
      Thu, 09 Feb 2012 at 08:19

      My dad is really mean to me…he always hits me and calls me and my brother names (im 17 and my brother is turning 14 in 2 months) My mom really wants us to move in with her. I love it at my mom’s. Except my dad won’t let me go. A week ago my mom got an order of protection against my father for us. but he lied and fought in court and now were back with him again. my mom is going to talk with her lawyer soon about just switching custody. Will this work?
      Dear Nathan: Yes, your Mom could obtain custody over you by explaining the situation to a judge. Your Dad will have the right to oppose it and present his side to the judge as well. Then, the judge’s job is to consider all of the evidence, which may include your statement, before deciding what’s best for you and your brother. The court’s responsibility is to make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Karen
      Sat, 03 Mar 2012 at 12:11

      I have a friend whose 7 year old daughternwasnawarded to the father. This case is currently in the Appeals cort. My question is this…are Teachers at her school obligated to report the types of lunches her father is forcing her to eat at school? He makes her lunches, and I have personally seen her lunches. An example one day eas two pieces of gray solomi and one strip of old bacon and a tiny candy bar. This type of meal is prepared on a daily basis. When the mom gets her, she is absolutely starving!
      Dear Karen: It will depend on the reporting laws in your state, but generally, teachers and other types of professionals who work with children are required to report suspected abuse and/or neglect to the police or appropriate authorities. You could talk to an attorney who handles education law to get more information based on the laws in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • SCOTT
      Fri, 09 Mar 2012 at 01:10

      can my daughter who is in foster care in mn. leave foster care when she turns 18 without the courts permission? because once they turn 18 theyre considered an adult and you cant hold an adult against their will right? she wants to come home when she turns 18
      Dear Scott: Generally, you may be right about her independence when she turns 18. But there may be special circumstances under Minnesota laws or orders from the judge assigned to the case regarding her placement upon reaching age 18. Every state differs regarding the jurisdiction of a juvenile court. Check with her assigned caseworker or lawyer about this. They should know the limits of her foster placement. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Pauline
      Wed, 28 Mar 2012 at 07:41

      my ex husband and i have joint custody of our 4kids. 2 live with him cause they didnt like my rules,which is just looking out for their best interst.i hear fom my own kids mouth that dads never home,my 11year old plays till dark,doesnt feed him dinner,most of the time its fenf for themselves.my 15 year old daughter is always haveing boys over tells her dad going to movies but doesnt meets up with boys,goes to a drop out school just to fool around he does not displine her,lets her do whatever so he can keep her there and my son so he can collect child support,food stamps and lies about his income. how can i get full custody they are out of control.and my 11 year old sits in room and does his homework by himself every nite and doesnt get help,gets a meal.what can i do HELP
      Dear Pauline: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teenagers and the law. We suggest you contact a local family law attorney for help and advice concerning getting the custody orders modified. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. You also can contact your local court to find out whether they offer a free legal assistance program at which time you might be able to sit down with an attorney for free information concerning your circumstances. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kaya
      Mon, 09 Apr 2012 at 09:29

      Um, I’m 15 and I’m wondering if what my mom does is considered abusive.. For about 3 years it almost seems like she hates me. In the beginning occasionally she’d cuss at me, and she started getting angrier, once she did hit me, and another time she let the anger get the best of her and she started pushing me. At the time I fled to the bathroom and locked the door(because I am not allowed to have a door on my own room), and my mom stormed upstairs and I was scared of coming out. Sometimes she tries to act sweet, but sometimes she can be absolutely crazy. We have been having fights extremely frequently for the past year. Recently my dad told me to try not to provoke her into a fight(I have some anger problems..) I managed to control my anger, but the fights were still there.. She tells me because I have anger problems that I am abusive and manipulative, she’s threatened police on me, she’s acted like she was going to just abandon me, etc. Not only that, but she is what I think of as a “Stereotypical dramatic woman” that causes drama, is angry A LOT, blames everything on everyone but herself. In fact, a lot of the things she does she says that I do. And when I was controlling my anger she said “See, I haven’t been fighting with you recently” It gets me so frustrated.. She makes me both depressed and I now HATE being a girl. Earlier this year my depression was so bad(when the fights were HORRIBLE.) that I contemplated suicide on multiple occasions. But in the end I always knew I couldn’t bring myself to do it so I lived in pain. I’ve tried telling my mom OVER and OVER again how what she does hurts me, but she never listens, I doubt she even cares… We even went to 3 therapists to try to help, but the last one just told her to be harder on me because of a mis-communication. She drags me into ‘adult drama’ all the time even though I tell her I dont want to hear about it.. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve never reported anything for a few reasons. She only put her hands aggresively on me twice, and I didnt think anyone really cared about ‘emotional abuse’ and would just say my problem is stupid and look at all the kids who have it worse(It’s happened too many times). I don’t want to get taken away from my dad, he’s one of the only reasons I continue to live. I am way too shy to call any Hotline of the sort.
      Dear Kaya: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. What are the chances of changing your living situation to your Dad’s? Since he knows what’s going on at home with your mother, maybe something can be worked out where you live with your Dad and visit your Mom. As you get older and closer to turning 18, your opinion about where you live may matter more under the laws in your state. Discuss this with both parents. Helplines are very useful for people feeling down and suicidal. Don’t hesitate to call if you reach that point. The people who answer are nonjudgmental, and experienced in counseling others. Call 1-800-273-8255 for a helpful conversation with someone who cares about you. It’s the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We wish you the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ke’von
      Wed, 02 May 2012 at 10:14

      My step dad is a 200 pound and give or take 5’9 5’10 he’s been beating on for more than two years every time i call the police my mom tell them that i am acting that nothing happen i have a dad he live in Texas he wants me to come stay with him my mom wont let me what can i do to stay with my real dad i really need some help i tierd of get punch in my face and my body i fell hope less what can i do .
      Dear Ke’von: If your parents agree to your move to Texas to live with your Dad, there’s no problem. If they disagree and there are custody orders from a court about who you live with, then a judge needs to change or modify the orders. You can talk with your Dad about this to see what he can do on his end to make this happen. A lot also depends on your age and the history of your case. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • alex
      Sun, 06 May 2012 at 05:28

      I’m 19 years old and have been taking care of my 16 year old sister for the last year in my grandmothers house. She has legal custody of her. This past year my grandma got a boyfriend and has not been around. It 2 days a week. She stopped buying groceries and personal stuff for my sister and left it for me to do on a minimum wage job. Recently she threw us out. But now wants my sister back. She wants to stay with my aunt because she will be better taken care of. Is the there anything we can do?
      Dear Alex: Your aunt can talk with your grandmother about the living arrangements for your sister. Maybe they can work something out where she’s protected and where she wants to be. Otherwise, your aunt may have to go to court for custody. She can speak with a local lawyer who practices family law and get some advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sara
      Fri, 01 Jun 2012 at 08:05

      My son has been best friends with the same neighborhood boy for about 8 years. I have known (through my son) that his friend’s house was always “messy”, but this kid is incredibly polite and good, and I’ve never wanted to judge them. Last year his father died, and things have apparently downhill (his mom has never worked). Yesterday my son told me their power was shut off, and they are now packing food into coolers to keep it edible. Today he told me that their house will be foreclosed on in about two weeks, and they have no idea where they will go. My son finally opened up to me, and said the house is mouse and roach infested, is so filthy that he doesn’t think they could clean it if they wanted to, and they are using a stove for heat. The last thing I want to do is report a family who loves each other very much and is struggling to survive…but I feel that this 16 year old boy is being subjected to far more than he should have to handle. Does this constitute abuse?
      Dear Sara: We’re very sorry to hear about your son’s friend’s situation. Whether his home life constitutes abuse and/or neglect would depend on the laws in your state. Ultimately, parents are responsible to provide for their children which includes adequate food and shelter. Perhaps you could try talking to your son’s friend and/or his mother to see whether there might be another home he can live in at least temporarily until his mother gets back on her feet. There may be another relative who he can live with or a friend’s family. Finally, if you believe he is being abused/neglected according to your state’s laws, you should report it to your state’s Child Protective Services.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Cole
      Wed, 13 Jun 2012 at 04:45

      People complain too much.

    • Elizabeth
      Mon, 25 Jun 2012 at 11:42

      Hello. First of all, I am not a teen, I am an adult and a parent. But, I do not know where to ask my questions. My 5 year old daughter, about a year and a half ago told me her older half brother(aged 13) hurt her privates. (she was 4 at that time) She sees her half brother every other weekend as I have sole custody over her. I called CPS and they did an investigation which came back as “an accidential incident did occur but it happened while he secured her into a go-cart.” As of last night, she told me her half-brother touches her privates. And this time, due to her slightly older age, used details to describe what has been (maybe) happening. The first time I called CPS, that caused MAJOR “drama” within the family on her father’s side. I don’t want friction that my daughter will be able to feel. I already know that there is some paternal parental allienation going on which is unfortunate for my daughter. Her father has history of being somewhat crazy and making threats, which he did last time. I was just wanting to know if our ongoing disputes will affect the credibility when I report this? This is the last thing I want to deal with right now, I work, I’m in school full time and I just do not need this but I know I HAVE to report this. I’m also worried about the valididty of my daughter’s story. I’ve read websites and articles on this topic that say children rarely make up these stories. Is there any other avenue I can take in reporting this so it is less traumatic and maddening for the other party? I am compassionate about the whole (alleged) situation. I’m not mad because if this really is happening, usually there is a long line of abuse and somebody else is ultimately to blame. I’m just so lost in this and never in a million years thought I would hear words like this again.
      Dear Elizabeth: It’s good that you recognize that you “Have to report this.” Looking the other way or pretending it’s not happening helps no one, especially your daughter. You might consider having her interviewed by a professional who is trained in these cases to sensitively and professionally speak with abuse victims. Either the police or CPS can refer you to someone in your area you can contact – a child psychologist or someone with Child Help USA (1-800-422-4453), for example. That way you can confirm that something is going on and have the expert opinion of a neutral party to substantiate the facts. CPS or the police may be able to help you with this since you already contacted them in the past. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lexi
      Tue, 26 Jun 2012 at 02:07

      we live in ca victorville and we live with a roomate but he beats his kids with a big! stick and he punches them one is 12 and the other is 11 he fliped out on my mom and dad we can hear the kids screaming and crying but we dont know what to do when my mom and dad leaves im scared because he beats them even if they have done nothing! its so sad i can barely take it anymore we are going to move soon but not soon enough please give me some good advice please we want to call the cops but we dont think it is the right thing
      please tell me it isnt so i can call the cops
      Dear Lexi: Why you think it’s not “the right thing” to call the police is beyond our understanding. If these kids are being physically or sexually abused, it has to be investigated as soon as possible. You can call the police or Child Protective Services without identifying yourself – just make the call. Silent Witness is a program for cases like these. The CPS number is: 1-800-422-4453.
      (This is information only – not legal advice)

    • Pat
      Tue, 26 Jun 2012 at 03:36

      Hello. I have reason to suspect my own brother may physically abuse his youngest daughter. I also have mild Asperger’s Syndrome, along with numerous medical ailments.

      My brother is a very prominent member of the community and outwardly appears to be a very nice guy. I have never witnessed him abusing his daughter; but I have seen her with welts and bruises a couple times.

      One incident is when I was renting one of his friend’s apartments. My niece was crying. My brother said that she “fell.” Then my brother became upset with me because I had left some tp rolls in the bathroom and appeared to almost hit *me*! That’s when I put 2 and 2 together.

      But even if I reported it, because of my Asperger’s and his prominent standing in the community and his ultra-niceness, I doubt anyone would believe me.

      I do not want to lose the support of my brother and his family; yet, I do not want to see my niece hurt anymore. I have a feeling she knows I know and thus, has not spoken to me for four years. But I cannot keep going on pretending. I hate being put in such an inattenable situation — I am at a loss as what to do. Do you have any suggestions?
      Also, I want him to get help; but I do not want to see him jailed.
      Thank you.
      Dear Pat: Your concern for your niece is understandable and requires action. If the abuse is ongoing, someone needs to step in to prevent it regardless of his position in the community or threat of jail. You didn’t mention your niece’s age but, if she is a minor, Child Protective Services exists for these type of cases. You can make a report anonymously or call the Silent Witness program in your community. The number for the national CPS helpline is 1-800-422-4453. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Victoria
      Tue, 03 Jul 2012 at 12:50

      Lately I’ve been getting injured pretty often normally it is my fault. However recently I have hurt my thumb pretty badly and it looks like it’s distorted and I think it might be either dislocated or sprained. (I think dislocated because my thumb is pretty flexible). At first I didn’t want to show my parents because I knew they wouldn’t care about it nor would they do anything about it except tell me to put ice on it and take Advil. Well I did finally show my mom and she just shrugged it off, and she’s actually asking me to do stuff around the house even though she knows I’m injured. I’ve even asked her to take me to the doctors and she doesn’t exactly say know but she changes the subject. I even keep asking her to take me for girl reasons but she hasn’t schedule anything. I’m 21 years old and I have been wanting to leave this house because I can’t stand my parents anymore. (They are a bit of control freaks.) I would leave the house except I don’t have a car and I don’t have no place to go. I want to live with my boyfriend who lives in Alabama but I have no place of getting there since I live in Oklahoma. I really want to get out of here but my parents want to keep me here even though they can’t. I’m also a bit of a chicken and won’t cuss them out or tell them that I’m leaving etc. Basically I’m afraid to stand up to my parents because I’ve always been a disappointment to them. They even told me so, and I have harmed myself before because of it. (I don’t do so anymore.) All I know is I’m desperate to get away from my parents but I’m just scared of doing so. Please help me.
      Dear Victoria: We’re sorry to hear about your struggles with your parents and how you’re feeling. Since you are an adult, you can make your own decisions. Keep in mind though that if you continue to live with your parents and they help support you, then you may have to go along with their rules and expectations. If you don’t have a job at this time, that is the first thing you may want to look into. Many cities have programs offering assistance to young adults in finding work. You could try doing a Google search or even looking in the phonebook to find out whether your city has some type of career center that you could visit for help and assistance. If you are thinking about harming yourself, please talk to someone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255(TALK). It’s a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Take care of yourself and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Karen Rosa
      Tue, 13 Nov 2012 at 10:41

      My mother has been physically and emotionally abusing me for about six years now. Two years ago I told the school and I filed a report to cps but they did nothing.they sent me back hhome and that night my mom beat me. How am I supposed. To live. On like this for two years? No one listens to the problems.
      Dear Karen: We’re extremely sorry to hear about what you’re going through. No one should have to experience any form of abuse. Please know that you are not alone and there are people out there who can and want to help you. First, please do not keep this to yourself. Talk to an adult you trust. We’re not sure who you talked to a couple years ago, but please consider telling a guidance counselor at your school, a teacher, relative, church member or friend’s parent. An adult will be able to assist and help you get the help you need. Although you reported it a couple years ago, you need to report it again since the abuse has continued. Here is the phone number for the National Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. You can call and report the abuse anonymously. Again, there are people who can help. You just have to talk to someone you trust and make a report. Stay strong and take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tina
      Thu, 29 Nov 2012 at 08:48

      I’m not sure what this falls under, but it’s a mess! I have 2 boys, ages 11 and 12 and divorced their Dad 5 years ago. He married a woman who had 3 older children, whose ages are 17, 16 and 13, the youngest being a female. My ex doesn’t allow my boys to room together and at first had my youngest Son rooming with the now 17 yr old. It was uncomfortable for me, knowing not only is he sexually active, but that his girlfriend was allowed to stay over. After that relationship ended, he was caught with another girl on the front porch at 3 AM! I’m not sure if my boys were there that weekend, but nothing was done about the situation. My ex gets the boys every other weekend, and we trade Holidays. We have joint custody, with my residence being primary for school purposes. We live in separate towns in MO.
      The 17 yr old has found another girlfriend, who is a year older than he, and my ex and his wife have since moved her into the home. My 11 yr old is now sleeping on a mattress on the floor where my 12 yr old son and her 16 yr old share a room. My youngest son complains that he doesn’t have anywhere to sleep, or put his clothes.
      Another thing that unnerves me is the fact that there are at least 8 snakes in that house, with some being red tail boa constrictors! I realize I can’t do anything about their choice in a pet, but I don’t want my boys to become a news story after one of the snakes escapes during the night.
      My ex has not paid child support in a month and a half now, and I can only assume it’s in part due to taking the girlfriend in and taking care of her expenses.
      I’m not sure if it’s considered neglect, but I know it’s wrong of my ex to do these things. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
      Dear Tina: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      What you describe may not be to your liking, but it may not cross the line as far as abuse or neglect is defined in your state. We suggest you talk with a local lawyer who practices family or juvenile law. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Julie
      Sat, 08 Dec 2012 at 11:36

      I have four girls from age 7-12 and recently been divorced from their dad. Dad has visitation every weekend but he never follows his visitation orders and only sees them maybe once a month for just 3-4 hours on Saturday (by his choice). There has been an incident just recently from my kids’ dad. My oldest daughter mention to me that her dad was talking bad about me, which he was not supposed to by court ordered. Anyway, my oldest daughter said she was playing with her dad and all the sudden he told her “you should punch your mom in her face as she deserves it.” My oldest daughter didn’t like what her dad said to her and got real upset. Is this verbal abuse and should I take action? I am just worried that he will continue to verbally and emotionally abuse them like he did to me. He is ordered not to talk to girls about me nor he is not supposed to put my girls in the middle of everything but he still does it.
      Dear Julie: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. Verbal and emotional abuse are more difficult to define than physical abuse. However, since your ex-husband is under court orders to not talk bad about you to your daughters, you could try either bringing it up with your ex and remind him calmly about the orders and how it has a negative impact on your daughters. If you do not get anywhere with him on the matter and he continues to talk bad, then you could bring it to the court’s attention. If you have an attorney for the custody arrangement, talk to him/her about this. A letter from your attorney’s office may stop him from repeating this behavior. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • lelah
      Wed, 12 Dec 2012 at 04:22

      My former friend has been brought to truancy court twice over 17 yr old son dropping out of school early this year (around march). She showed up once and promised to put him in school but didn’t. And rescheduled her court date in the intention of not having to deal with it as he will be 18 in the beginning of january. And have moved so they cant receive any mail from the court. should i notify someone about this if so who?
      Dear Lelah: Due to the boy’s age and near adulthood, there is little to gain by getting involved here. He will pay the consequences for neglecting his education. That’s a greater penalty than any court can impose under truancy laws.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jhonathan
      Fri, 14 Dec 2012 at 08:39

      I’m in desperate help please help me it’s bout my dad. Ok so first of all I’m sick and tired of him treating me like I’m not important. First of all when I got my license instead of being happy he was mad at me like what did I do to him? Second I got my debit card and he doesn’t seem so happy about again what did I do to him? Everytime me and my brother do things for him he’s never happy about. But when his new wife does little things he’s all happy about it. He’s always telling my sister and older brother how were being rebellion when really it’s him. Just because we dnt get along with his wife he tries to make my sister ad brother against my little brother and me. Plus I’m sick of him talking crap about me to my sister it really bugs me. I tried calling the police back in October and they didn’t really do anything we just moved in with my mom to get away from alll these problems and he said that if we don’t come back then he was going to call the police on us. He wanted us gone and now that we were gone he brought us back to these problems hes so lazy he only has 1 job and plus we do everything for him it’s like were his slaves and I’m tired of it. Like he doesn’t know what kind of feeling I go throught how they treat me and how they treat me at my job hes always wanting me out of the house. I just want him for to divorce his new wife because she’s part of these problems. Please help because I’ve sometimes feel like commiting suicide. Please do something about it please please!!!!!!
      Dear Jhonathan: Since you mentioned getting your license, we assume you’re around 16 or older. That means you’re getting close to age 18 when you legally become an adult. Keep that in mind. It’s not long before you can make your own decisions about where and with whom you live. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Don’t do anything now that will ruin your future – you’ll see that it gets better and can even be great for you and others in your life. Until then, you may have to make the best of things. Talk with a counselor at school or with your church. Talk to an adult you trust or contact one of the help-lines across the country – they’re free and you don’t have to identify yourself. We recommend the following: 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Lifeline) or if you’re LGBT 1-866-488-7386. Be strong, Jhonathan, and don’t keep things to yourself – talk with someone who may be able to help you through these tough days. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Raelah
      Mon, 04 Mar 2013 at 02:15

      My mother verbally/emotionally abuses me everyday it is getting to the point where I’m so socially anxious that it is hard to even leave the bed. My boyfriend wants me to live with him but I live in Tennessee and can’t get emancipated. I want to move out of here as soon as possible. What can I do?
      Dear Raelah: We’re sorry to hear about your home life. Since you’re a minor, however, the law requires you to obey your parents unless the emotional, physical or sexual abuse is such that the state would become involved. We suggest you talk with an adult that you trust about this and see if anything can be done. Maybe counseling would help if your mother is willing to attend. Consider talking to a teacher, counselor at school or church, or an adult relative. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sue
      Sun, 24 Mar 2013 at 08:05

      My family and I were living in a trailer park after my attempt accusations of child abuse a year before and the case was closed we moved out of state recently because I wanted out for good
      Here the age is 17 you can leave home but I’m only 16 my stepfather molested me and keeps trying to get me to have sex with him
      I thought about going to my boyfriends family 4 hours north but I don’t want anyone getting in trouble because of me and me being a runaway
      Dear Sue: First, we strongly suggest you talk to an adult you trust about what is going on. Perhaps you could talk to another relative, a school counselor, teacher or friend’s parent. If your Mom agrees to letting you live with your boyfriend (and his family), then there shouldn’t be a problem. Be honest with her and tell her what is happening if you feel comfortable. She may want to help you get out of the house as well. If you leave without her permission, you may be taken back home if picked up by the police, be cited and depending on the laws in your state, your Mom could be cited, but often runaways are simply returned to their home. Finally, you should not have to be dealing with your stepfather who is breaking the law. You can report it, even anonymously, to the police or Child Protective Services. The number for the national hotline is 1-800-422-4453. Please take care of yourself and talk to someone about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Willis Le
      Fri, 12 Apr 2013 at 08:09

      I am from Illinois, Chicago (13 yeards old) and both my parents are Vietnamese. I say that I am very lucky because my dad leaves for work about 30 minutes right when I go back home with the bus. I am really scared tomarrow because my little sister (11 years) annoyed me because she was bored and we fought and my mom came home and told my dad that we were fighting so that we would get hurt for punishment. I DIDN’T DO ANYHTHING WTF! My dad hits me a lot and for mistakes I do and if I get 1 C for a grade and he would hit me on the head with his wrist knuckle really hard. He also hited me with a stick before, but he stopped and uses his hands to do it easier. My dad is really more strict on me more than my sister and he does the same for her. My mom knows everything and I am being bullied at school by my friends because I am not cool and I am Vietnamese and they are rascist because of the Vietnam War which I think is an excuse for hating me. My teachers and social workers know that I get bullied and my friends get in trouble a lot and no one talks to me. My sister gets 2 Cs on her report card and all else Bs, so she wouldn’t do anything in the house except T.V. and she uses the time to annoy me really bad! My dad always hits me in the head and I am depressed why no one likes me and the person that likes me is the school’s social worker; she always keeps an eye on me, and is always smiling. Every time I talk to her, its always about someone that be in trouble. My dad is really aggressive and he always think of a small excuse and get a weird furoscious temper and starts beating me up. He threatens me in Vietnamese ‘hit you till you die’ (dun mey jet bee yuh)and my mom knows it and just laughs and I hate her by that and my dad will kill me tommaro. He will hit me tomarro I AM SO SCARRED! THE ADRENALINE IS ALWAYS SO HIGH I SAW THE WORLD IN SLOW MOTION WITH MY BLOOD PUMPDED UP LIKE I WOULD FAINT WHEN HE SPRINTS TO ME TO HIT BEAT ME UP. HE SAYS IN ENGLISH THAT HE WOULD BEAT ME UP and my sister, she just gets pushed and nicked ONLY ONCE While I get BEAT UP and usually he hits me on the head a lot and sometimes he hits me in the stomach after and he never hits me when someone is looking, but tells me to go somewhere and hits me! I always get discluded in games at school and this guy pinches my arm and it hurts a lot expessially when he yanks it! I used to be bullied so bad I went home crying every time in 4th grade, and I have been discluded since 1st grade I remember when I could never play cops and robbers but watch and I would cry so bad and I heard that people that are treated bad will be bad later but I know I won’t ever become bad because I am a good person. Every time I feel really bad, I think about God and that if I suicide, I would sin really bad and go to hell and I want to be with God forever and ever. I AM SO SCARED FOR TOMARROW MY DAD WILL BEAT ME UP AND EVERY HOUR I FEAR THAT HE WOULD HURT ME AGAIN AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO BUT STAND THERE AND DIE! I told some friends at school that my dad hits me a lot and they laughed FOR WHAT SHIT I can’t tell my social worker because my mom and dad will go to jail and I don’t WANT THAT WHAT DO I DO
      Dear Willis: We’re sorry to hear about your life at home. But, unless you tell someone what’s going on, nothing will change. The discipline will continue and may get worse. Think about telling your social worker or another adult you trust. No parent has the right to physically abuse their child. Even if your father is arrested for assaulting you, isn’t that better than risking serious injury or death? You have to take action in order to protect yourself. Good luck, Willis, and don’t keep this to yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Caitlin
      Sat, 04 May 2013 at 01:03

      I am an old family friend of a family and they have three kids in the home 10,12,&16 and they have not had any electric in the home for 6 months. They say they dont have the money and our father lent them a generater for now but they only run the fridge. This is florida and it gets extremely hot. I have a kid living with me that used to live there her sister is the 16yr old in the home and she has missed several days of school due to no clothing to wear beacause it’s all dirty. What can be done to help these kids? There house is falling apart as well. The floor is about to fall in and the hot water heater is falling through as well.
      Dear Caitlin: We’re sorry to hear about your friends’ circumstances. First, you could try talking to the parents and find out what can be done or if you can help in any way to ensure the kids get their basic needs met and do not miss any school because of financial despair. (There may be resources available in your friends’ city that can assist them with their bills, utilities, etc.) If the kids miss too many days of school, the parents could face consequences for educational neglect or truancy depending on the laws in their state. Finally, if you believe the kids are in danger or being harmed, the authorities or Child Protective Services should be contacted. Thank you for asking and looking out for your friends.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Irene
      Tue, 16 Jul 2013 at 05:58

      I’m 15 years old and reasontly went threw having to deal with CPS because I reported my father to them. My father is very violent and acts like he doesn’t remember hitting me. He’s done very horrible things, but when a social worker comes he makes them think I’m crazy. I have pictures of the marks he’s left and they didn’t even want to look at them. They think I’m making everything up, but sense this all happend he moved us to a different state so I couldn’t get help. I’m ready to leave but I know that’s going to cause nothing but more issues for me. I have a 13 year old sister who lives with us and he’s only hit her once but she even talked to the CPS workers as a whitness and they did nothing, I’m fed up and I don’t know what to do anymore.
      Dear Irene: If the physical abuse continues, you have to protect yourself and your little sister. Since you’re in a new state, call the police or CPS if either of you are injured or threatened with physical harm. Otherwise tell an adult you trust about what’s going on. Every state has laws regarding the physical and sexual abuse and neglect of children. The laws are there to protect you, so don’t stop reporting these incidents. The national helpline number is: 1-800-422-4453. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Carly
      Wed, 07 Aug 2013 at 09:55

      I am 17 years old and my sister(18) has been abusing me not only physically but also mentally and has caused me to have very bad depression. She has given me bruises and has broke 3 of my doors trying to get to me. I have a friend that once saw a bruise and knew it wasnt an accident because it was in the shape of a hand. If I call the police what will happen? (To her and me)
      Also my mom knows she does this and just lets her do it to me. One time she watched her hit me and kick me. My mom tells people that I beat up my sister when the only time I have done anything was pushing her away,self defense.
      Dear Carly: If you report this to the police, they may talk with your mom and your sister. They would need evidence of the abuse to take it any further. If they see the bruises or recent pictures they could consider assault charges or whatever else the local prosecutor thinks is appropriate under the circumstances. She could be arrested and taken to court. A lot depends on the nature of the evidence, the laws where you live and the policies of law enforcement and the court. You might try telling an adult that you trust who may be able to talk with your mom and sister about this to put an end to it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hanna
      Mon, 12 Aug 2013 at 08:17

      I have been in a hard situation for about 10 years now and i think i might be emotionally abused by my parents. I’m 14 years old and i think my mom might be bi polar my dad is bi polar and is on meds for it but it doesn’t help. There is not one day that my mom does not yell at me she tells me i’m fat then when i’m not hungry she says i’m just gonna get fatter from not eating. She yells at me for everything i do she has been homeschooling me since i was 5 and has never let me go to school for more then a year.

      Now i’m behind on my school and she says its my fault and that i’m just a lazy spoiled f*cking brat that gets everything she wants and when ever she buys me something she later yells at me telling me i don’t deserve anything and that i’m a brat. She doesn’t let me go any war beside my dance school and sometimes she doesn’t let me go because of my “behavior” so i fall behind on dance as well. one minute she is a nice caring mother and the next she looks like she hates be. She makes me say i have the best mother in the world and when i don’t say it she yells at me. She is always telling me everything is my fault and that i don’t do anything. She doesn’t clean the house very often so i do it so it doesn’t get worse.

      I am adopted too and sometimes i think i’m just an outcast and no one wants me. I have no friends and no one to talk about this to. The rest of my family is the same as well. One time when i was 13 i was laying on the floor listening to music and my grandma told me to turn it down but it was not loud and i’m 34% deaf in my left ear and 15% in my right so i cant hear well. But when i didn’t turn it down she kicked me in my hip bone and now when ever i try to turn out my leg in dance i hear and feel this pop sound in my hip and sometimes it hurts really bad. My dad just sits there and watches when ever my mom yells at me and does nothing and he agrees that i’m a spoiled F*cking brat and calls me it when he gets mad at me. The problem is everyone else loves my parents and thinks they are the nicest people in the world so no one would believe me if i told them and there are not many people to tell anyways.

      They call me names curs at me and once my mom slapped me. I just don’t want to live like this anymore sometimes i think i am over reacting and the problem is just me. I used to self harm but i stopped when i realized it was not worth it. Sometimes i think about but i stop my self. My dad used to drink to and DCF was in our house for a year and that year was the best year of my life cause they couldn’t risk anything. But now here i am 6 years later DCF said i was the best child when i was 9 they had ever seen, and here i am and i’m the same position. My dad stopped drinking but is on a lot of pills. My mom treats me like crap and all i want is to just tell somebody but i get to scared. I have no where to go all my family is the same. i just feel like everything i do is wrong and i’m just overreacting sometimes, i want friends and people that care about me but i’m to scared to try because they might hurt me just like my parents do. i posted this on another site but no one said anything that helped…

      i have no one to tell either i have tried and no one believed me cause my parents are so nice to everyone else.

      Can anybody help with out them knowing? Please help I don’t know what to do…
      Dear Hanna: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. There isn’t anything you can do unless someone you trust knows what’s going on. You have to tell someone about your feelings and how life is at home. Maybe your caseworker with DCF if you remember her name and number. Or the person who checks up on your progress with home-schooling. Or your dance teacher. Emotional abuse is difficult to prove but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You have a right to be protected from all forms of abuse. Talk with someone you trust. We wish you the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Emily
      Fri, 16 Aug 2013 at 03:37

      I don’t want to be in this house like this anymore. My father calls me a liar because i injured my legs and back but the doctor cannot find what’s wrong. My parents yell at me until i cry then pick on me for crying. Then I try to go to my grandma’s house to get away and they won’t let me. They call me names and tell me I’m stupid and immature when I’m 16 and the top of my class. I really don’t know what to do. I’ve been smacked. Just earlier this week, i was talking to my mom and she made me cry. Then she got up and told me, “you better run, bitch.” What can I do?
      Dear Emily: We suggest you talk with an adult that you trust about what’s happening at home. If you are being physically abused you have a right to be protected. Talk with a relative who might be able to help out or a counselor either at school or at your church. Sometimes when parents understand how things at home are affecting their kids, they will agree to making some changes that may also include compromise on your part. We wish you the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Elizabeth
      Wed, 30 Oct 2013 at 08:00

      So I am in a tricky situation with my sister. She is married with 3 kids and lives in a tiny on bedroom apartment with 4 pitbulls, 30 snakes (python) and many baby exotic spiders (tarantula). Her brother in law also lives in the apartment with them. My niece, who is 7, has complained many times about the cleanliness of the bathroom and refuses to take a shower or brush her teeth in there since the 4 dogs apparently live in the bathroom. My question is, can I call child protective services and report this as being a neglect/abuse situation. I understand that there are many repercussions and could put the 3 kids in a very difficult spot, but I am very concerned about the safety of my nieces and nephew. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

      Elizabeth
      Dear Elizabeth: Your concern for your niece and siblings is justified based on what you describe here. If you haven’t had any luck discussing this with your sister and you feel that the children are in physical danger from their living situation, contacting Child Protective Services and/or the police to conduct a welfare check would be appropriate. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jenn
      Tue, 26 Nov 2013 at 11:04

      My nephew is the center of a child custody case. Recently he has been talking of “monsters” are pulling on his penis and sticking fingers in his anus and suddenly is afraid to sleep alone. He states this happens in his room at daddy’s house. His mother has called CPS and turned over a video they took when he was explaining to his mom and step-dad about what was happening. The mother has refused to turn him over to the father (CPS told her this was wise)… The father asked the judge for an immediate hearing to gain the child for his visitation and the judge stated he did not believe the allegations and refused to look at the video. Is this legal? Seems very risky on the part of a judge to ignore this video. He has shown a bias against the mother from day one in court based on a few times she withheld the child shortly after the seperation (which was wrong but traumatic for her since the husband left the entire family at 3am one morning only to start a new life with a close friend of the mother and family)… She knows she was wrong in doing so, but that was almost 2 years ago and now regardless of what happens the judge shows a heavy bias for her. The mother is remarried and has custody of the 3 other children (the little ones siblings) and the father is cohabitating with his girlfriend and her child. The girlfriend has a criminal record for meth as does her own mother who is also around her minor child a lot. The child they are in court for is 3 1/2 years old. Please help.
      Dear Jenn: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      Your concern for your nephew may be well founded but the reasons need to be shared with the lawyers involved and eventually the court. The judge may decide to appoint a lawyer or guardian for the child so that everything is aired in a hearing and any decision regarding custody and/or visitation may be based on the best interests of the child. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

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