Post # 1
My nephew recently turned 11 years old. He has been aware of my sister-in-law’s (brother’s wife) problem with alcohol since he was 6.
More recently, her problem has taken a serious turn for the worst. My brother has not shared much about her addiction over the past couple of years until recently because it’s become so bad.
In this week alone, she left my nephew home alone for 3 hours and when my brother came home they still couldn’t find her. A neighbor found her swerving around in her car in the neighborhood going about 2 mph. They forced her to pull over and dragged her out of the car where she passed out on the street. They carried her home.
The following day she attempted to put my nephew and his friend into the car to go to the pool. He was so afraid that he called my brother and begged him to come home because she was passed out in the driveway with the car on.
She did the same thing the next day. My nephew called my brother crying saying that she was drunk and was trying to take him somewhere in the car. My brother came home to her passed out in the foyer of the house.
My brother is going away for 5 days for business (don’t ask me why he hasn’t cancelled, I’m very upset about the fact that he refuses to) and he’s asked my family if we could “check in” on my nephew.
I live 5 hours away, so am unable to do so. My Mom works two jobs and well…there’s a list of excuses as to why my Father can’t step up and take him.
I know the long term solution is that she gets help as soon as possible. But I’m looking for a short term solution for my nephew. I’m very very afraid of him being left alone with her for that long. Especially if he has no one to call when she’s trying to put him in the car.
Would calling CPS be an awful solution? How about the police? I have no qualms about getting her arrested. She’s a TEACHER (yah, this story just got worse, right?) and would lose her job, but I don’t know how else she’s going to see the severity of it all.
I’m sure a lot of you have experience with alcoholics in the family. How do you handle it when there is a sweet minor child involved?
Post # 3
@AnonBeeLee: I would call CPS and/or the police. Something needs to be done and if your brother is okay with going away for 5 days and leaving his child in the care of a woman who is clearly in crisis, he’s obviously not going to be the one to do it.
Post # 4
I think hearing from soneone who has knowledge on the CPS process would be great. The last thing I would want is for my nephew to end up in foster care, even for a couple of nights.
Post # 5
@AnonBeeLee: You should call CPS to investigate. The police likely won’t do anything unless there’s something active going on (ie: you/ a neighbor sees her swerving around the neighborhood). I would strongly suggest looking into AlaTeen/Al-Anon for your nephew and your brother.
Post # 6
@AnonBeeLee: You guys can’t leave him there for 5 days with her. Even one day is too much. Either your brother needs to bring him to you, stay home, or you have to call CPS. Why risk it? I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, you will be in my thoughts and prayers!
Post # 7
@AnonBeeLee: Is there anyway he could go and stay with someone else for the 5 days? Like at a friend’s house or with you?
I would have called the cops already- shes drinking and driving, if she doesn’t kill her kid, she’ll kill someone else’s. Call police or CPS. It’s a horrible and difficult sitation to be in but it’s the kind of thing where something truly awful will happen and then everyone will say why didn’t any notice or do anything? Also, make sure your nephew has your number and/or knows to call 911. Can someone get him a cell phone that only makes emergency calls or something if he’s alone with her and he needs help? i’m sorry you’re in this situatiion, even sorrier for your nephew 🙁
Post # 8
I have worked with CPS in the past and they do not automatically remove a child from the home. They will do a better job of convincing your brother not to take that trip than you. If he goes away and something bad happens, they would be much more likely to remove him because your brother would be demonstrating poor judgement and neglect. Sometimes CPS will simply connect a family with resources, require counseling or other services and check up on the family.
You can call anonymously if you prefer, but please make them aware of the situation. Seriously call now.
Post # 9
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@AnonBeeLee: Is there something like a Marchman Act in your state where you can petition the court for her to be ordered to go to treatment? If you, your family, or your brother don’t do something you are all failing to protect your nephew and should CPS get involved in a few months or next year, they could decide to remove him from the parents and place him in foster care until she successfully completes treatment (they may also require her and your brother to take parenting classes or counseling to determine what the root cause of the alcoholism is.)
Make sure your brother is aware of what he is actually risking by doing this. Thankfully the child is 11 so I would make sure he knows to call family members if mom is too drunk or being dangerous and to refuse to get in the car with her if she tries to drive drunk with him.
Post # 10
Maybe you can offer to take him for a “vacation” that week to your house?
Or have your husband ask to be the kid’s to-call person in case of emergency, and have your husband call the police when that poor kid (inevitably) calls with an emergency.
Post # 11
@AnonBeeLee: Is there any way you can take him for the week?
If not, I would talk to your nephew and tell him to call you, then police if his mom tries to get in the car. Since the neighbors also know what is going on, I would maybe talk to them?
Post # 12
@SeaTurtle88: I think this is a good idea. I’ll see if my Mom can get him an emergency only phone. It’s obvious he knows, at this point, not to get in the car with her. I’m just afraid that with my brother gone that he won’t know who to go to.
@gingerbreadgirl: Thanks for this info. I’ll make the call today.
Unfortunately my brother let us know about all of this about 3 hours before his plane left, which makes this all the more difficult being so last minute.
I could take him for a week, but will his Mom let me? No. I offered that to my brother and he turned down the idea. I would take him without her permission but I’m afraid that could backfire and it could turn into something much more serious for me.
Would an 11 year old be okay staying by themselves at home?
Post # 13
@AnonBeeLee: Would an 11 year old be okay staying by themselves at home?
For how long? And do you mean legally or practically? The legal answer depends on the state. Some states have very specific laws and others have a broad definition of neglect.
Could you talk to your nephew about finding neighbors he trusts? So that if something immediate comes up (like mom hit her head) he knows where to run to?
Post # 14
@gingerbreadgirl: If I were to somehow take him for the week, I would still need to go to work (8-5). I could go home at lunch for an hour. I meant practically, I don’t think there are any legal ramifications for where I live.
Edit: I can’t get in touch with him without going through him Mom, since I’m 5 hours away. There’s no way for me to talk to him privately :/
Post # 15
Generally at 11 I would leave my child home alone if I knew there were people nearby (eg. neighbors) I trusted and the child knew what to do in case of fire/emergency. You may have a hard time convincing mom to let him stay if he will be alone all day.
Post # 16
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
@AnonBeeLee: Yikes. I don’t know what to say. This is BAD NEWS. Is your brother gone already? I would strongly consider driving to their house and just taking that kid – get your brother to fax written permission or something? Leaving him there is just asking for something terrible to happen.
Especially if you can go home at lunch, I think an 11-year-old is fine at home. I’m pretty sure my parents left me at home in the summers at that age sometimes. It sounds like the poor kid is scared as shit, and for good reason, so you would think he’d cooperate with this solution. Get a bunch of video games and snacks and it can be like a fun goof-off week at auntie’s house.
Otherwise, yeah, I think you should call CPS. Calling the cops won’t do anything, I don’t think, unless she’s literally getting in the car wasted at that moment.
If you can possibly keep this in the family and not get CPS involved (yet), by going and getting him or whatever, it seems like that would be preferable….