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stevensocal
stevensocal asks:
Q:

What as a father can I or the state legally do to get my daughter back in school with some kind of counseling? Can someone please guide me in the right direction?

I'm 36 and after 16 years I finally found my daughter thanks to Facebook. She is now 16 and has been raised by her grandmother ( her moms mom ). Her grandmother bought land in N. Carolina 16 yrs ago. An isolated 3.5 acre farm 30 miles from the nearest town or school. Here are my concerns I'm in California for one thing ( her place of birth ) so not much I can do. She has some learning disabilities ( I think ) Social ones for sure. She couldnt handle school so her grandmother told her in eight grade that she could drop out and has never gone back. She has been alone on that farm her whole life, she has no friends, no social skills whatsoever (except her internet boyfriends on My Space and Facebook, she has an eating disorder and stomach problems. Probably due to her bad diet of mostly sodas, candy, and other junk food. She spends her days watching TV mostly cartoons. What as a father can or the state legally do to get her back in school with some kind of counseling. She is 16 but stuck at a 12 year mentality. Can this be considered neglect? What exactly can I do?
In Topics: Back to school, Parenting / Our Family, Teen issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Jul 21, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I'm glad you found your daughter after all of these years.  Since we don't know the details about what happened after she was born, these are just some suggestions that might help you in figuring out what to do next.

I think the biggest question you need to ask yourself is, how involved in your daughter's life do you want to be?  Do you want her to come live with you?  Do you want to get her help in N. Carolina?  

I would contact a lawyer, one who specializes in family law.  Before meeting with the lawyer, gather information such as letters from your daughters mother, and legal documents that recorded your daughter's birth (birth announcements, pictures, etc.).  Also put together a timeline of events.  Record the facts.  Generate a list of questions that you want to ask the lawyer, such as
Do I have a right to custody?
How can I have more of a say in my daughter's well-being?
What steps do I need to take to get my daughter back?
How much is this going to cost?
How long will it take?
Because she lives in another state, how will that affect the case?

Be honest when you meet with the lawyer and be specific with what you want the finally outcome to be.  

If you still have legal rights to your daughter, then you can contact the school district to answer your questions about her education.  There should probably be something in her file.  You can ask if she has ever been tested for learning disabilities, or if they noticed any social problems.

You can do a little research on your own about N. Carolina's child welfare laws.  Each state is different so it is best to go directly to that state's government offices.

In the meantime, keep the lines of communication open with your daughter.  Ask her what she would like to happen.  What does she see as her future?  If you are able, maybe you could visit her.  Maybe you could discuss your concerns with the grandmother.

I wish you and your daughter all the best of luck.  I hope others chime in to give you additional ideas on how you can help your daughter.

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stevensocal
stevensocal writes:
Thank you for the information. I have visited her already in NC and she came to stay 10 days with me earlier this month and met the rest of her family.  Her visit was the reason for my concern. She has no respect for others, No manners, and no social skills whatsoever. She was absolutely miserable out here and did everything she could to not have a good time even at Disneyland. She flew off the handle the first time she didn't get her way and locked herself in her room the whole time.  Before she came out I was hoping she would love it so much here that she would want to live here someday. At the same time I believe her grandmother thought the same thing further corrupting the situation. As far as I'm concerned NC is her home she would never come live with me cause she would have rules and besides she would just hate me for it anyway. My worry is her future well being. What happens when her grandma dies and she is left with absolutely nothing or nowhere to go cause she was never taught any better. She has no concept of work and very little education and it scares me to death. It's mean to say but she is very ignorant and  Naive to the point of being easily preyed upon especially since her social life is based soley on Facebook or Myspace.
> 60 days ago

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