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Nekko
10-12-2013, 09:53 AM
Hi all - my MC's parents died in an accident, and his aunt and uncle in Washington State (He lives in California) are his legal guardians as per his parents' will.

Would social services be involved? Would the family / boy have a caseworker to help ensure a smooth transition?

Thanks for any info!

Cath
10-12-2013, 04:40 PM
How old is your MC? Where is he at the time of the accident? Who is taking care of him between the time that his parents are killed and the will is retrieved? Who initiates retrieving the will?

Depending on his age, social services may be involved before the aunt and uncle can be reached.

jclarkdawe
10-12-2013, 05:39 PM
What do you want to happen for your story?

Could be anything from a seamless transition with the State not even knowing anything happened, to a full-blown mess with heavy State involvement. Easy to accomplish either extreme or something in the middle just by changing the facts a bit.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

melindamusil
10-12-2013, 07:54 PM
Related to what Jim said- what is his/his family's relationship with the aunt and uncle prior to the accident? Were they on good terms or were they estranged/barely speaking to one another?

Also, how do the aunt and uncle feel about becoming his legal guardian? Do they welcome this new addition or are they bothered by it?

Medievalist
10-12-2013, 07:58 PM
There's a useful pamphlet in .pdf from Washington's DSHS:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/Publications/22-1096.pdf

Nekko
10-12-2013, 08:12 PM
First - Thank you all for chiming in!


How old is your MC? Where is he at the time of the accident? Who is taking care of him between the time that his parents are killed and the will is retrieved? Who initiates retrieving the will?

Depending on his age, social services may be involved before the aunt and uncle can be reached. Cath my MC is 10/11. I think family friends will take care of him until the aunt and uncle can be reached and come down to CA. The initial transfer to the aunt and uncle occur before the story starts and in itself aren't important to the story. I was 'assuming' that they knew they were the named legal guardians.


What do you want to happen for your story?

Could be anything from a seamless transition with the State not even knowing anything happened, to a full-blown mess with heavy State involvement. Easy to accomplish either extreme or something in the middle just by changing the facts a bit.


Also, how do the aunt and uncle feel about becoming his legal guardian? Do they welcome this new addition or are they bothered by it?
I'm considering making it an issue as the story develops. After their own son dies the family kind of falls apart and perhaps they consider putting my MC in foster care, so I was wondering if a social worker might already be in the picture.


There's a useful pamphlet in .pdf from Washington's DSHS:

http://www.dshs.wa.gov/pdf/Publications/22-1096.pdf
Thanks for the link to the pamphlet!

jclarkdawe
10-12-2013, 10:08 PM
Put some obstacles in place, like it takes a couple of days for the grownups to show up. Want is a bit stronger, have them have a wimpy excuse for being late like they don't answer strange phone calls (meaning they probably are avoiding bill collectors). Give them an overzealous case worker to deal with.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Nekko
10-13-2013, 01:29 AM
I'll keep this angle in mind, but I really see the story starting with his adjusting to his new reality and looking for a sense of acceptance and belonging. However, I could see this coming up as things disintegrate. Thanks :)

Willow M Stevens
10-19-2013, 06:58 AM
Sorry I'm late to the party (I just found this research area--too fun!), but to your original question: would there still be a CPS worker involved--it depends on how much time has passed and what the final legal situation was (adoption vs legal guardianship till 18yo)

If the aunt and uncle legally adopted him, it generally would not happen without a trial period, anywhere from 6-12mos to make sure that the child and the family are a good fit. If during that time, the aunt and uncle decided that they didn't want to adopt and/or were no longer willing to be his legal guardian, then the transition to foster care would likely be fairly easy (from a legal stand-point), because he would technically still be a ward of the state. However, he would likely still be the legal ward of whichever state he came from--they don't transfer things like that. He would then have two CPS workers--the one from his state of origin and the one from the state "borrowing" him. If the situation disintegrated before the trial period ended, he would be returned to his original state of residence and likely be put up for adoption there.

If, on the other hand, he is legally adopted by the aunt and uncle, once the final paperwork is signed, then all contact from CPS would END. And I mean END, FINITO, all done, no how's it going, follow-up, nada. Once he's off their caseload, it's hasta la vista. The only thing that might change that is if the aunt and uncle maintained a personal friendship with the CPS worker. Otherwise, nothin. At THAT point, post-adoption, if the situation disintegrated, "unadopting" him would be a lot more legally complicated, but unfortunately happens more than you might think, especially with older adoptees. However, he would then be placed in foster care in that state as opposed to his original state since his legal status would be different at that point.

Hope this is helpful, and hope it makes sense!

Nekko
10-19-2013, 10:36 AM
Wow, thanks for of this Willow!
You're not late, this research for the story I'm doing for NaNoWriMo in November, so you're timing is great.

I really appreciate all the input I've got from you folks!

Canotila
10-20-2013, 06:35 AM
Depending on when this is set, Washington State CPS/Social Services would not be involved unless there are allegations of abuse/neglect with substantial evidence. Even in cases where there is substantial evidence (like hand print shaped bruises and bloodied mouth/black eyes) teens are often put off because younger children who are unable to run away or become legally emancipated are given higher priority, and resources are very thin.

Individual social workers in our state are currently handling case loads that are 3-4x what they are technically supposed to handle. They are supposed to spend a minimum of one hour with each family/child under their supervision each week. Most of them don't even have time to spend 5 minutes with each family when you factor in driving time.

They wouldn't have to adopt him to become his legal guardians, though they can if everybody is on board with that.

Nekko
10-20-2013, 10:04 AM
Thanks Canotila I was hoping that someone familiar with the regs in Washington State (where I assume Stongbadia is...) would weigh in, as I assumed every state handles this slightly differently.

For example, in CA, no social worker would be involved if it was 'just' a family guardian transfer. There's supposed to be court paperwork filed to finalized the legality, but it is rarely followed up on unless there's a real problem.

Thanks for your input :)