My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Virginia
My friend "Alice" and her husband have gotten stuck (I don't mean that in a mean way) with their neighbor's son. He took advantage of her kindness and big heart after he asked her to watch him while he worked 3rd shift. She had attempted to force the Dad to take him back twice but both times he ended up leaving the boy at home alone so she didn't know what else to do but to just keep him with her. He was previously being watched by the grandmother who is 80 years old and it wasn't the best situation for the child. Well since then she has had the boy (he's 6) full time since September. He sleeps at Alice's home, is there before and after school, and does everything with Alice and her husband as if the boy was their own child. The Father has had absolutely nothing to do with him and he lives just a few doors down from them. The Mother is somewhere in South Carolina and has not had contact with the boy since he was a baby and Alice is pretty sure she doesn't know what is going on. The Father is collecting the child support but is not helping Alice with any expenses in taking care of the child. She has asked him for money to help with expenses, and she has even attempted to get government assistance to help, but he doesn't want to do that because he knows he will be forced to pay. He also knows that if that should take place, they will most likely try to contact the Mother which will automatically prove that he hasn't been taking care of the child all this time. The boy is supposed to be taking medication, but has not taken it in two weeks because since Alice doesn't have any kind of custody or guardianship over the boy, she can't get him medical attention. And the Father won't do it either. The situation is really getting bad and I did advise Alice that maybe she should speak with Child Protective Services, but she's afraid that he will be taken away, and that she will never see the boy again. What she want's to know is what are her rights to getting some kind of guardianship over the boy so that she can get some kind of help to take care of him without taking the chance of losing him because they both have come to love the little boy as if he were their own child.