I would also encourage you to talk to a Youth Crisis Line like 1800RUNAWAY (National Runaway Switchboard -- they don't just help runaways, they help any youth in a bad situation; please know that it is a crime in Texas to runaway & it is a crime in every state for someone to allow a runaway to live with them without the parent's permission) or 18009999999 (Covenant House Nine Line). NRS can help mediate the situation & also can help if CPS doesn't help the first time they come out (usually they want photos of bruises, burns or marks plus 1-2 adult witnesses to the incident -- if you don't have that, many times they will dismiss the case). If there is a family member that your parent(s) will agree to let you live with, that's typically the best option. Second best would be if there is another adult who you know who is willing to take on all the cost & responsibility of caring for you who your parent(s) would allow you to live with.
There are other options, but they are harder to come by. CPS very rarely will remove a child from a home even if there is evidence they are being abused
unless they think that the child's life is in immediate danger -- and there must be very clear proof of that. Even if they do remove a child, typically the child is returned to their home after several weeks. Usually they will try to talk to the parents first. Then if they find there is a problem they will try to get the parent to agree to stop the abuse. After a few weeks they will come back & look for abuse. If it's found, they will order the parent to take parenting classes for several weeks. After those classes, they will try some other options. If all else fails, the child usually is removed to a group home for some weeks, and usually returns to their parents' home after that time. The social worker will come out for another visit or two. If everything fails at every instance of the visits, the child will be removed again to the group home. Eventually the parent may permanently lose custody, but at 16 adoption is incredibly unlikely. Most adoptive parents choose children under age 10 to adopt. That means that a 16 year old who is permanently removed from their parent's custody would spend the time until they turn 17 in the group home. At age 17 the State of Texas considers you an adult & you would not be eligible for any continuing services. That means you would have to find housing & food entirely on your own.
I know that's a lot to take in. I wish more than anything it weren't the case. But I want you to at least be dealing with the truth. And even though it's really hard, I think you've shown yourself to be very brave so far & I know you will continue to make good choices for yourself.
You can also ask NRS if there are any youth advocates in your area (sometimes those are part of CPS, but other times there are separate advocates who work with the department of justice). And there are many other options they can explain to you.
Covenant House tends to be slightly better at helping you find counseling services & connecting you with other youth in similar situations. NRS does have a list of counselors as well, but Covenant House is a bit more specialized to help with that. They also have a website with chats (www.nineline.org) -- though I would encourage you in both cases to be careful about
what your parents might overhear on the phone or find a log of on your computer later. If possible, it might be best to contact them from school or a friend's house -- wherever you can be safe.
NRS is confidential & they don't trace calls, but if you give them your name, where you're from & tell them about
the abuse they are required to file a report with CPS. Sometimes that can be a good option but you should discuss what that means with them first before you give them all that info. Sadly, many times CPS does little or nothing & the parent becomes even angrier & more abusive. I know you are very young to be dealing with this -- that's why I'm suggesting you talk to someone who can walk you through all the options that you might have.
And know that you can always post here. Mostly we can only share from our own experiences, but I know this is a safe place at HW & members always want to try to help each other out.
Please take care of yourself & let us know how things go.
Post Edited (Frances_2008) : 7/10/2010 11:54:32 PM (GMT-6)