Reality – Ouch

A young man in crisis finds safety with a friend's family

Dreena Melea Tischler April 18, 2014
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This is going to be a little off topic. It really doesn’t fit into my particular blog scope, but it’s a story worth telling.

On a Sunday night, I was home with all but my eldest daughter (Pepper), and my second daughter got a frantic message from one of Pepper’s male friends. We will call him Frank. “Help. It is not safe for me to stay in my home. I need to leave. Can you help me?”

Of course dear hubby went straight out and picked up this teenager, a frequent visitor in our home. When he arrived, I explained that Pepper was sitting for a neighbor, but I’d do what I could to help him. I cautioned him, however, that if he had been the victim of violence, I would be duty-bound to report it to CPS. He said, “I want you to call CPS.” I did so.

So did you know that if you are an older teen and not disabled, no matter how violent your parents are to each other, as long as they are not violent toward you, CPS cannot intervene? They can’t even recommend an investigation. In essence, they can’t help you. That, my friends, is a scary place to be.

There was no question that Frank’s home was an unsafe place to be. The hotline respondant said the same. There was simply nothing she could do.  Have I mentioned that this is an extremely bright kid, a straight A student, a quick witted thinker, and a young man with an obviously bright future?

This is where being a former foster parent becomes very helpful. I have resources. I reached out to two people I know in CPS’ state offices and one former CPS caseworker of the Littles. I was able to connect with one of them and she gave me some great advice. She told me of two local shelters who help runaways and also have longer-term voluntary programs for youth.  I told Frank he could stay with us a few days while we got things organized to help him, as long as he told his parents where he was. He let his mom know where he was staying.

On Monday, I made some phone calls. The shelter in our county agreed to help him.  There was only one catch . . . a 21 day clock will start ticking once he enters and by then, we need a plan.  On Wednesday, all the the groundwork was in place and I took him to the shelter.  The saddest part of the story?  In those 4 days, though they knew where he was, Frank’s parents made NO attempts to contact him. Heartbreaking.

(to be continued . . .)

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Dreena Melea Tischler


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