Stepdaughter wants to stay a week with father who neglects her diabetes

By DeltaLitProf Latest Reply 2012-03-10 20:52:56 -0600
Started 2011-11-04 23:22:48 -0500

I am the stepfather of a 14-year-old girl who as yet still cannot be trusted to test herself or take her insulin unprompted and unsupervised by an adult.

Her father lives about 400 miles from us. He is a nightmare. Every single time my stepdaughter has been in his custody for more than two days, she has ended up in the hospital with ketoacidosis. This has happened five times in the past year. We are trying to get her A1C levels under 10 and of course her father's neglect will reverse all our efforts in a short time.

The problem is that even though the girl lives with us now, he still has legal physical custody of her. We have no ability to pay a lawyer and the state of Mississippi's child protective services has told us they can do nothing for us. Because of this, her mother is unable to even get hold of her records.

Right now the father is insisting on coming up here to get her and take her to his home for the weeklong Thanksgiving break. We suggest he simply visit her here, but he is not a reasonable person and usually reacts with threats to come get her immediately.

Does anyone have advice to us as to what to do? I am of course willing to be arrested to keep him from taking her back to his house with her.

49 replies

MoeGig 2011-11-08 21:34:39 -0600 Report

Tough situation. Probably the only thing you can do outside of confronting the father outright is to focus on making sure your step daughter is educated about the medical need to roughly control her diet/meds. Ultimately, diabetics have to be responsible for their own behavior and control, and at 14, she has to be on the cusp of taking care of herself. Obviously if she's in rejection mode, I have no idea what to do except to try to get her out of that mode. (I know, way easier said than done). (Been there, done that, got the T shirt).

sheriden 2011-11-07 00:11:59 -0600 Report

When my step daughter was young her mom and step dad had primary custdy of her and she complained of being molested and we had to send her back on court order, I would have ran of with her however I had four other children one a new premie and could not. I would try legal aid. And If I had to I wold get those hospital records and make them public send them to your gov, sen, and the white house. This child's life is in danger. I find it sick if a parent spanks a child, they take them but if a child's life is in danger they can do nothing. I will be praying for you all you are in a tight jam. Blessings to you all.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-07 00:19:46 -0600 Report

I am prepared to do everything possible to protect this child. Even now he is calling their cell phones repeatedly as they try to sleep for school tomorrow, trying to get them to talk to him. He's also calling and threatening my wife on her cell phone while she works the overnight shift at a senior care facility. Tomorrow I plan to be up early to get the petition form to file to get into court.

sheriden 2011-11-07 13:12:52 -0600 Report

I can tell you are ready to go to bat for this child the Lord will bless you for this. Call's like that are harassment. My grand daughter has to live with her dad a sick judge and money were the factors, She is being abused and we are and have been trying for ever to get this reversed. Just the other day they took her to the hospital in Douglas Wy. very small and un eqiipet she needed to have a pennie removed from a very bad spot. The Howpital talkd to The major howpital i Wy. Who talkd to the main gastro doc in wy who said none of the wy hospitals had the special instrment needed to do this and she was to be rushed to Denver childrens to have it done and the NIC unit was there in case. Her dad did it at Douglas and the fact that not even Wy med center would because of the danger to my KayLee makes me sick. She is ok but we are going for child indangerment. and that is what is happening to your little girl. Parenets should ban together and force the law to be responsible for what they put our children through. Blessings to you and yours.

Gracie40 2011-11-07 09:33:14 -0600 Report

There is a website… that is out there to advocate for the girl who had the crime you mentioned committed against her.

Jan8 2011-11-07 09:55:25 -0600 Report

gracie,my daughters were raped by my first husband and I never found out until their early twenties. OMg I didn't want to send them with him but the therapist said they need to be made to go. That was the worst advise I had ever gotten and I am very sorry I didn't listen to my gut feeling. they had psychological counceling and it has taken them years to get through it. They do not ever want to see him again. He should be in jail .

Gracie40 2011-11-07 10:27:16 -0600 Report

You are so right. But I sort of wish the stepdad hadn't mentioned the particular inciident. You want to tallk about an aching heart. :( We have to keep the family in our prayers. Thanks for your reply.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-07 00:23:12 -0600 Report

Isn't that harrasment. Just another nail in the idiots coffin. Good luck and please keep use posted. This is on my mind a lot. God Bless

Gracie40 2011-11-06 13:49:46 -0600 Report

Has this child had any psychological counseling? Not necessarily because of the diabetes issue, but because of the "wrenching things" you can't list. Is her physician an endocrinologist? Even if the doc is a G.P. he could refer her to a Certified Diabetes Educator. That could be someone else to be an advocate for her.
The CDE may know some other teens who have diabetes that she could relate to. Also, perhaps get in touch with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and ask if they know of any resources that could help. Let whomever you speak to (lawyer, doctor know how desperate you are for assistance. Lay it on the line. Pull no punches. Best Wishes to you & yours. And folks, that is a lesson to us…stay away from Mississippi.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 20:56:44 -0600 Report

Thanks for this post. So many options to consider. She has had a limited amount of counselling. Because she is still legally in her father's custody, she has Medicaid and so we have taken advantage of this to get her this kind of care. But as you say, we are in Mississippi. The resources are extremely limited. I've never heard, for example, of a certified diabetes educator and would not be surprised to learn one can only be found in Memphis, Jackson, Biloxi. We're in the Mississippi Delta.

Caroltoo 2011-11-06 15:32:51 -0600 Report

Gracie: if they don't have custody, most states will not allow them to seek psychological counseling for the child despite the obvious need for help.

dietcherry 2011-11-06 15:43:27 -0600 Report

Hello Carol! Do I recall you mentioning you worked with youth in some capacity? Do you have any suggestions for these parents?
All other issues aside, can a parent be held accountable for their 14 year olds' non-compliance with D????

KarieV 2011-11-06 06:21:51 -0600 Report

Not to be nosy but is your wife the sole custodian parent? Call your local law enforcement and see what can be done as far as the law because when i was going through my Certified nursing assistant class i was told that if a caretaker withholds medicine or doesn't make sure the patient takes it and something happens they can be arrested. To me he sounds like a unfit parent and i have siblings who learned real quick what a unfit parent is and from what i know he can go to jail for neglecting his child.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 20:50:23 -0600 Report

When my wife and he divorced two years ago, they both still lived in the same town. So she agreed to joint custody of both girls, with physical custody of the youngest. He retained physical custody of the oldest.

He decided within 6 months to marry a woman with 5 kids and move 450 miles south, taking our oldest girl (who is type 1) with him. After she ended up in the hospital about three times through his neglect, and after she was raped by a relative of his new wife, he agreed to let her live up here. We've had her since May of this year.

Since then, she had two additional stays with her father (which by law we learned we couldnt deny him because we had no money to pay a lawyer to get the custody arrangement changed). Twice she has ended up in Mobile Children's Hospital.

At the moment, he is demanding to be able to come up here and take both girls back 450 miles south with him for Thanksgiving week. We're doing all we can to keep this from happening.

KarieV 2011-11-07 06:43:47 -0600 Report

I am soo sorry the law and cps wont help you. Have you thought about moving to a state that would crucify him?

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 20:59:23 -0600 Report

Just to add to the story. Her father actually sent us documents repeatedly asking our child to refuse to testify against her rapist. The boy's grandmother was threatening to disinherit his wife if the charges weren't dropped. So the father was calling us several times a day trying to tell us the rape was the girl's fault (she was 13, the boy was 17. He barred the door of the room so she couldnt get out).

That's what kind of father we're dealing with.

AuntieBear 2011-11-07 01:24:21 -0600 Report

Just wondering: Could your step-daughter be refusing to take care of her diabetes as a way to lash out at everyone around her because of all of the traumas she has been through?

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-06 23:05:14 -0600 Report

Good Lord in Heaven what is wrong with these people! I'm so sorry for the troubles this man has brought upon your family. Sounds like your more of a father than her biological father. I will keep praying for you and your family. Don't give up hope or your faith, you are not alone.
God Bless, Mickey

Heather44118 2011-11-05 19:50:50 -0500 Report

i found this site that defines the law hope it helps
i know a lot of lawyers take cases like this probono. keep calling law firms until you find one. I would go with the bigger ones. good luck

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 01:16:35 -0500 Report

She has been through a lot of wrenching things I can't even list here, but all having to do with her abusive, sociopathic, deranged father. We do what we can to remind her that she needs to take care of her diabetes without prompting. But at this point she simply is not ready to take on this task. We're going to contact a lawyer whose number was given us by the local child protective services office as they were telling us they would not help us get the custody agreement changed. Then we plan to file a petition to see the local family court judge.

As of today the father continues to agitate to take her 400 miles south with him and if not he says he plans to take her back from us permanently.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 01:27:12 -0500 Report

We will attempt to get pro bono help from a few firms we have yet to call if the lawyer whose number CPS gave us (as they showed us out their doors) cannot help.

Gracie40 2011-11-05 18:52:40 -0500 Report

This man is truly endangering his daughter. What a vile snake. Not only is he endangering her, he is using her to control your wife and you.
The suggestion about getting her to a diabetes camp is a wonderful idea. Some may have scholarships. Does her doctor have other teenage patients? Is there a support group for teens in your area. Could her doc get one going? Does she have a CDE? Getting her out of denial is key in getting her cooperation. We have one teenager in DC that might be willing to chat with stepdaughter. Just throwing things out there. Maybe something will spark and idea. God Bless you all. G40

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 01:20:35 -0500 Report

Mississippi is notorious for having very few resources available for people with any kind of chronic condition. There is also widespread ignorance and lack of compassion for the poor and the ill. We've been told that the school district had a chance to accept a large federal grant toward accommodating children with diabetes which would not have obligated the district financially one bit. The superintendent turned it down. No reasons were cited.

princessbeiter 2011-11-06 13:35:26 -0600 Report

I, too, live in Mississippi. We have absolutely no support for anyone who isn't an unwed mother on welfare. I hate to say that, but it is the truth. Also, children's services CAN help with the situation, they just don't want to. The father is neglectful. Report him to the office where HE lives and tell them everything. Do not embellish, but be sure to let them know about her condition and hospital stays. Ask them to at least supervise his visits with her.

Your family is in my prayers.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 20:51:54 -0600 Report

You are right. It is a scandal how little support there is for children in this state. I have the feeling we were fed a pack of lies by our local CPS just to get us out of their office. The social worker in charge there doesn't even have a computer.

pixsidust 2011-11-05 08:45:01 -0500 Report

God willing, She never goes to the hospital again. If she does; you tell the health officials there that she was in custody of her father who neglected her care and ask them to call family services to report neglect. Did you report the incident to the child abuse hot-line each time? If the medical professionals do and you do it they have to investigate. They can reassign custody at that point

Go to you courts system to see if you can file to have a review of custody without an attorney. People do represent themselves. In California its common to go yourself. Try physically going to family services in your area with the medical records. Sit in the lobby until you talk to someone. They will see you. I know!

Talk to this Girl. Explain her life was in danger every time she went to the hospital. Explain her kidneys can not handle her forgetting. Show her people on dialysis and tell her how much you love her. Let her know you will call her every day to take her medicine and she is to stop and take it right then. If you can't get through on the phone she is to take it any way. Can you get her into a class for kids with diabetes so she can educate at her age group?

The courts assigned a guardian ad lidum to her who represented the child in a divorce or custody hearing. Find out who that was and fax the medical records that show her ketosis along with a letter. One page per incident that says her condition, along with the letter.

If all else fails, get a loan from your 401K if you have that, ask parents and siblings for a loan or sell a car and hire an attorney. If there are any areas that can be cut to save money like smoking or eating out (not saying you smoke) then cut those areas. This is a life that could be lost!

My heart goes out to you, and so do my prayers.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 01:22:29 -0500 Report

We report it every single time to Mississippi Child Protective Services. The first few times they'd send someone to interview him and his current wife. Now they do nothing and have told us they can do nothing as long as he is specified in the divorce decree as having physical custody of her. CPS told us that because the divorce was done in a chancery court, they can do nothing for us.

GabbyPA 2011-11-06 07:57:50 -0600 Report

Is there a way to amend that divorce so that there is afforded more help from the courts?

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 20:52:48 -0600 Report

We're going to take the advice offered earlier and begin calling local law firms to see what can be done about making this happen.

GabbyPA 2011-11-07 09:02:21 -0600 Report

I will be praying for your success in that and all the things you are trying to do. This sounds like a horror story to be sure.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-05 17:42:05 -0500 Report

I have been thinking about this alot since yesterday! I was thinking along the same lines as pixsidust. You said they are in another state? I would call the county he lives in Child Protective Services and tell them what he is doing. It's called child endangerment and he can get in Big trouble for this.
Just a few months ago a women in detroit had her young daughter taken away because she did not want to give her some kind of med's or tx for her daughter. She had to go to court and fight for months to get her back.
What i'm trying to say is a parent is supposed to make sure the health and welfare of the child is upheld. It is against the law for him to endanger her this way.
I hope some of these thoughts from different members here helps u out. God Bless you and your family.

DeltaLitProf 2011-11-06 01:24:10 -0500 Report

He lives in the same state but 450 miles to our south. We have called the county CPS and they usually just send someone to his home to interview him. We then hear nothing more. This is Mississippi, after all.

GabbyPA 2011-11-06 07:56:05 -0600 Report

I suppose there is no option to move into a different state? Does her dad have sole custody? I don't understand the arrangement. What power does her mom have with anyone?

jayabee52 2011-11-06 15:28:58 -0600 Report

most divorce decrees which have minor children involved in the divorce say that the custodial parent may not take the child out of state without the non-custodial parent's permission. It often requires another court session to work out the arrangements between the parents regarding times and costs of transport of the child(ren) between the households. If the parents are agreeable it may be done by the lawyers involved and the judge without a big court trial again.

If the non custodial parent flees across state lines without permission then the fleeing parent may be fined and/or rights to visitation could be taken away.

My divorce was a little different, my ex was named custodial parent, but within a few months my youngest son left her domicile to take up residence with a family friend (he said he didn't like her new husband — and he didn't like me either, so he wouldn't stay with me, even IF I had a place for him to stay which I did not). When the family friend moved from NV to IA my youngest moved with him without my foreknowledge or permission.

When I found out about the change of state, I inquired of his brothers how he was doing, and from what I learned he was doing much better (academically and socially) than he had been in NV, so I didn't object to his being there (he had cut off any communication with me months previouisly). We're just now after years apart, coming back to communicating with each other (mainly at family events like weddings).

Caroltoo 2011-11-05 18:23:09 -0500 Report

Good point. Also verify that the Child Protective Services in HIS county of residence knows every time this happens. It sounds like the two parents are 400 miles apart, so probably in different counties, possibly in different states. That may have affected the hospital/CPS communications negatively. If the State actually has these reports in his file and haven't acted, I wonder if you could find a pro-bono attorney or someone with the civil liberties union who could shake them up a bit?

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-05 18:28:30 -0500 Report

Would be worth looking into. I just can not believe that the authorities would not act on this if they had the information! The father is putting this young girl in danger for her life! Makes me want to punch him an i am not a violent person! Needs a boot to da butt wake-up call!
I'm praying for this family!

GabbyPA 2011-11-06 07:54:29 -0600 Report

I agree, I am actually surprised that the ER has not made some kind of report. They do that for the smallest things and since she has been in there so often, I am thinking there must be a way to get that looked into.

GabbyPA 2011-11-05 08:17:19 -0500 Report

I know you are willing to be arrested, but if you are in jail, who is going to take care of her? So while that sounds admirable, it may not produce a good outcome in the long run. Specially with child services.

Are there any kind of activist groups that might be able to help you out. Even resorting to a TV problem solvers might be an option. Get that story out there so that people who can help can find you.

I am sorry to hear that your daughter at 14 is not willing to take care of herself either. Ultimately, that is where the problem is. Maybe a camp or classes where she can learn that it is not that bad and there are other people out there like her that go through similar things. The Juvenile Diabetes Association is a great place to start. I am sure you have tried some things, but keep trying.

Caroltoo 2011-11-05 13:05:36 -0500 Report

Good thoughts, Gabby! Teens listen so much more willingly to other teens. Takes it out of the old parental power struggle. Dad's complicating the other issue here, but if the girl is on track with her own care, his negligence wouldn't cause as much harm.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-05 00:55:07 -0500 Report

What a nightmare for you and your wife! I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish I had some advice to give you. But i don't think you going to jail is going to help any! Your poor wife would be doubly upset! The only thing i can do is pray for your family. I sure hope someone else has advice for you. Good luck you and your family will be in my prayers. Blessings

dietcherry 2011-11-04 23:32:10 -0500 Report

Yikes! This sounds awful! If your stepdaughter has an A1c above 10, Im really concerned for her! At 14, doesnt she grasp the importance of good blood sugar control? Send her here and let us talk to her please!!!!
I have no advice for you and Im sorry for that, however, shes old enough to take control of her D and not rely on any of you to make her compliant to proper care!

Next Discussion: kidneys part 2 »