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Trying to emancipate myself and get my little brother into foster care

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  • Trying to emancipate myself and get my little brother into foster care

    I'm 16 and dealing with an emotionally abusive and unstable mother. My parents are separated and my mother has custody but I stay in touch with my father via phone to discuss this issue frequently. My mother is in a relationship with a drunken crackhead (literally) and has allowed him to live in our 2 bdrm appartment off lease and free of rent for months. He's encouraged my mother to drink more (now her drunkenness is almost as bad as before my parents split again) and start vaping and have unprotected sex and is altogether a horrible influence on her. She's become a nightmare to live with and I'm constantly having to protect my 4 year old brother from her because she screams at him and treats him as if he should be old enough to understand why she's always so angry. It's to a point where my mother and I are at each other's throats constantly and we've gotten physical a few times. A few years ago I had a restraining order against her because of physical abuse, but later on ended up living with her because my father became so much worse. He's now in Arizona and I'm living in Michigan, working 20 hours a week and taking online classes at night while I watch my brother and my mom works. I want to drop out so I can work more often and work on earning enough so that I can get emancipated and I already have a friend who's mom is aware of my situation and has offered me home with them if I were to leave. The only problem is I only earn $270 every other week and I doubt my mother would agree to me dropping out, and I know the court process of emancipation is absolute hell. I'm just stuck and I genuinely have no idea what to do. I'm scared for myself but more so my brother, and I'm considering calling CPS soon.

  • #2

    We are glad you contacted NRS for help. From what you shared, it sounds like your mother has been putting you though a lot. Home is supposed to be somewhere safe, so it is not okay she is treating you this way. Reaching out for support is a really good first step to take.

    Getting CPS involved could definitely be a helpful option for you. It sounds like your mom is not providing an adequate living situation for you or your brother. Filing a report would mean that a social worker would get involved to help. You can contact the National Child Abuse Hotline for more information about this process and what the outcome might be. You can call them at 1-800-422-4453 or chat with them online by going to .

    You are doing your best to take care of yourself and your brother. It is really mature of you to work while also taking classes. Emancipation can be possible but it is a long and difficult process. The court generally wants to see that you are able to financially support yourself, emancipation is in your best interest, and you are able to live on your own. Working more hours may have financial benefits, but dropping out of school might hurt your chances of being granted emancipation. We are not legal experts by any means, but we can talk more with you about this as an option and provide legal resources if you call or use our online chat services.

    You are really strong for doing everything that you are and for asking for help. We can best help you by phone (1-800-786-2929) or chat if you want to talk more about your situation. You are not alone and we are available 24/7 to talk with you about your options.

    Be safe,
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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