My teenage daughter has been diagnosed with social anxiety and depression. She has threatened suicide on multiple occasions.
While in my care, I placed her in a 5-day inpatient treatment center. But recently, while she was with her mother, she threatened suicide again and even cut herself. I’ve begged her mother to take her to the hospital, but she refuses.
What can I do short of kidnapping my own child to ensure her safety?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I am licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and can give you some general guidance with respect to this issue.
What I do recommend is that you schedule a consultation with one of Cordell & Cordell’s attorneys in your state so he or she may advise you more specifically based on the law and unique circumstances of your case. It sounds as if some emergency custody relief may be necessary.
In Pennsylvania, having someone 302’d refers to when you contact the police and express that someone is going to be a threat to themselves or the safety of others and that person will be involuntarily committed for a specific amount of time. That sounds like what you may have done when your daughter was in a treatment facility for five days. I would try this again until they tell you you can’t any more.
Here, a child over 14 can refuse medical treatment; I am not sure what the age is in your state but you should continue to force this issue and consider filing an emergency petition with the court to obtain sole legal and physical custody pending her treatment.
Document the mother’s refusal to communicate and co-parent on this issue. Notify the police immediately. If you are able to get your daughter for custodial time, file the emergency petition and do what you need to do to ensure she is safe, which may mean not releasing her to mother unless ordered to do so.