My question involves child abuse or neglect in the State of: Florida
My 14 year old grandson ran away from an abusive father in Maryland over one week ago. His older sister, who left home the day she turned 18 in March and who currently has a final Order of Protection against their father in effect which also required him to surrender his firearms, put her brother on a plane and sent him to us. CPS already had a case open for child abuse and domestic violence so she informed the case worker of the situation and gave her my information. I was contacted by the case worker and also by a police officer with the Domestic Violence unit. The officer instructed me to immediately seek an Order of Protection for my grandson here in Florida but this is pending a hearing on 9/9 because the court believes it does not have jurisdiction.
The father has been abusing all three children as well as my step-daughter. She knows that her son is with us and is keeping it a secret from the abuser for now. The abuser did not surrender his firearms following the August ruling so the officer who spoke with me went to the home to retrieve them and to do a welfare check on my step-daughter and the remaining child in the home who is 6. This officer recently requested that my grandson write a statement regarding the most recent abuse, have it notarized and fax it to him immediately, which we did. My step-daughter told me that she is working with the CPS case worker, that they have her medical records from injuries that needed medical care (broken arm, stitches). I had hoped, with all of this information that the abuser would be arrested but we faxed the statement on Wednesday and he is still in the home.
My step-daughter is becoming more scared that the abuser will find out that my grandson is here and that she knew about it so she is considering telling him that she just found out and suggesting that he let him stay. He was talking about moving out all week but the weekend is here and I know he's not going anywhere. He's acting calm and reasonable with her but I know he's not.
I am very upset that Florida seems unable to protect this child but I also realize that the court here cannot tell me what I can do if there is something available other than the Order of Protection. There are no outward signs of abuse but, now that my grandson and granddaughter are able to talk freely, they are telling me the same stories of mulitiple incidences of past abuse.
My question is, is there something else that I can file in Florida that will protect this child from his father? I'm concerned that he will come down here to get his son and we will be powerless to stop him. I am also VERY concerned about the harm that will most likely come to the boy on the 20 hour trip back home. My husband is the natural grandfather and is willing to file anything that will help our grandson with the court.
Another question I have relates to Maryland. The officer told me that witnessing your father abuse your mother is considered child abuse so I was under the impression that at least two charges would be filed...one for my older grandson and one for the younger one who has not been abused but who witnessed the abuse of his mother. Right now the only evidence Maryland has are allegations. The abuser is scheduled to have an interview with the CPS case worker on Tuesday (he keeps putting it off) and he believes that he can get out of this if he has the run away son back home...which is why I know he will come down here. Can Maryland charge him if the only evidence they have are allegations? Are they required to wait until they have interviewed the abuser or is this delay a bad sign?