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# Tragic Situation: My wife’s best friend passed away, leaving behind two young children

Eight days ago, my wife (45) found her best friend (39) unconscious and attempted CPR, while our daughter (12) called 911. The friend had two children, a 12-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, both without a present father figure. The 12-year-old’s father lost joint custody due to inadequate living conditions, and the 6-year-old’s father has been untraceable since before the child’s first birthday.

## Complex Family Dynamics: Legal Issues and Custody Challenges

The deceased woman’s brother, who is considered legally next of kin, isn’t close to the children, and social services removed them from our care and placed them in foster care the day after their mother’s death. We are unable to get any information from the authorities or understand the probate process to ensure the children’s well-being.

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#### Seeking Guidance and Support

We are desperate to help these children and provide them with stability and care during this challenging time. Any advice or recommendations on who to contact or what questions to ask would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

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View Reference


  • apparent-evaluation

    It’s amazing that you want to do this. It’s going to take some steps. You were going to need to speak with a family law attorney. You also may want to start the process to [become a foster parent]( to have all your ducks in a row.

  • Gordita_Chele

    If the oldest child’s father hasn’t had his parental rights terminated and wants his daughter to live with him, you probably won’t have much of a chance to stop that. Social services may put him on a plan to get his living conditions up to standard, but if he wants it and isn’t outright abusive or neglectful, they would probably work with him to be able to parent her. Make sure social services knows that you want to provide a long-term home to the kids. They may have just taken them to foster care because they need y’all to have a home study and background checks to let the kids stay with you.

  • HickoryTrickeryArc

    I’m an officer in WI. Not sure where in WI you live, but I can tell you that CPS doesn’t tell us where the kids go. Once the kids leave with CPS or someone CPS is fine with, that’s the last time we see the kids. If CPS takes them, we won’t know where or whom they are going to

    The only reason I can think of them not letting the kids stay with you guys is because you aren’t foster parents, family of the deceased, or part of any legal documents giving you all guardianship. It sounds like you guys are working with a lawyer, which is good!

    The interesting thing is the CPS workers I work with in my area tend to keep kids with family or close friends. People the kids want to be with and typically can help with getting people guardianship. At least from my understanding of what they have done where I am.

    I hope the best for you all! The kids should be where they want to be.

  • SnooWords2192

    Not an attorney. Children Service Worker in Ohio. First , CPS has to look at family first for placement. Meaning working with the oldest child’s father to rectify living conditions, trying to locate youngest ‘s father or making contact with the brother. I would say contact the caseworker and make yourself known to be an option that will be the easiest route. You should be consider as non blood kin as you have an established relationship with the children. If you are able you should contact the Worker involved in the case.

  • Mimze

    For what reason did they remove the children from you? Placement with fictive kin, which is what you are would be the next best thing if the fathers aren’t available.

  • archivesgrrl

    I’m a foster parent and have taken in kids I knew previously. It’s different from state to state but basically you and your wife are what is considered fictive kin. Which a lot of time can get the children placed with you while you are getting licensed. Call CPS and let them know you want the kids placed with you and are willing to be a long term/ adoptive option. Then work on getting your foster care license. It can be a long process if you don’t stay on top of all of the paperwork.

  • bluefurniture

    The bio dad of the 12 year old can fix his living conditions but he likely won’t. Do the kids share a strong bond? who gives them the best chance to stay together? Those questions your lawyer will ask.

  • bluefurniture

    DSS will ask the brother as next of kin. it’s a cursory request. they will try to locate the bio dad of the younger one but he doesn’t want to be found and can stay lost but it needs to be a reasonable effort. In my state, a CASA or GAL is appointed to represent the needs if the child.

  • rpratt72086

    First off – NAL

    From the sounds of it, children’s services was already involved in the kids lives and there was an open case because of things with the oldest ones bio dad. Which would explain the quick placement. Most likely there is also a GAL assigned to the kids as well which is pretty typical in a custody case involving potential abuse / neglect / poor living conditions.

    The bad news: the state is going to try and work with the bio dad of the oldest to rectify his living conditions and make things better for the child. I went through this with my youngest daughter and her mother. Sadly it took three removals from the mother because of neglect before they would finally place full custody with me, because the court system is geared toward placement with the mother over the father unless there’s proof so staggering that the judge can’t ignore it. Placement with the biological parent is always first preferred option, followed by biological family. But until that can be attempted foster care is their only option. While they try and keep siblings together, and may offer the father of the oldest to take both girls while they try and locate the youngest ones father, it’s not a guarantee. Especially if he’s already on shaky ground.

    The good news: you CAN petition the court for temporary placement until things are resolved. Children’s services will have to conduct full background checks on all the adults in the house. They will want to do a home visit, as well as speak to your immediate family and possibly do visits to their homes depending on proximity. They’re going to look at your employment history, current employment and finances. It’s not a quick road but you can help expedite it by getting your records in order. Character references will also help. You’re going to need an attorney to help you deal with all this and it’s going to feel like it’s never ending at times. But I truly congratulate you and your wife for wanting to take care of these children and make sure they’re done right by. It takes a lot to take on raising someone else’s children and a lot of people anymore won’t do that. Hoping for a positive outcome for all of you.

  • Impossible_Focus5201

    I work child welfare, but not in your state so things may be different. Once a child enters state custody, the state will exhaust all resources to find family placement, whether with the remaining parent or another family member. It is the responsibility of the worker to ensure the family member is “safe”, then they would have to be approved as a foster parent (if not the biological parent). If no family can be found, the worker may ask the kids about other close family friends. The goal of any agency should be a kinship/family placement. If you are interested, you may get in contact with your local agency about getting approved as a foster home.

  • Suitable-Wrangler480

    You need to ask to speak to a supervisor, you can apply for kinship. Kinship is not just for family.

  • Willing_Cheetah7976

    I worked as a CASA/GAL. My advice would be to call the local CPS office and ask to speak to the assigned case manager. Then plead your case. If WI is similar to my neighboring state, they are most likely in the process of locating and reaching out to next of kin. This can take weeks, months, even years. Once options are depleted, they will move to those in the child’s inner circle. It will be faster if the kids name you as someone they want to be with and trust. It will also move faster if you begin the home study process with the same office ASAP.

  • Grouchy_Writer_Dude

    Foster parent here. Contact those CPS workers and ask about options for emergency placement. Contact a foster care agency *today* and start the licensing process. They will know how to go to bat for you and those girls. See if you can find anything from the mom that expresses her wishes – old text messages, social media, anything.