questions & answers
Question: We are parents of a defiant & verbally aggressive & threatening 15 year old. A recent conflict ended with me as his adoptive stepdad giving him the choice to either work on better behavior or we would need to find alternate living for him. He chose to leave the house and is staying at various friends houses. What obligations do we as parents have to ensure a safe living environment and can we legally force him to return home?
First of all, I am sorry for your difficult situation. Hopefully, the following information can be of some assistance to you:
Information regarding Parents:
Arizona Law (ARS §25-511) makes it a class 6 felony (imprisonment for 1 year and up to a $150,000 fine) if the parent of a minor child knowingly fails to furnish reasonable support for the parent's child. Parents are responsible to provide proper parental care and control over their child/ren. This includes providing adequate food, shelter, and clothing.
Information regarding Minors:
Arizona Law (A.R.S. § 8-201(15)) defines an incorrigible child as someone who:
- is determined by the courts to be a child who refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of a parent, guardian or custodian, and who is beyond the control of that person;
- routinely or habitually skips school;
- is a runaway from the child's home or parent, guardian or custodian;
- routinely or habitually behaves in such a manner as to injure or endanger the morals or health of self or others;
- commits any act constituting an offense that can only be committed by a minor and that is not designated as a delinquent act; or
- fails to obey any lawful order of a court of competent jurisdiction given in a non criminal action.
Some of the potential consequences of being found incorrigible include being fined, be placed on probation, and being ordered to do community service. The specific charges and consequences are left up to the officer of the court.
You might want to check with your local juvenile court about community services being offered. For example, in Maricopa County, "the Juvenile Court offers a staffing called a Children's Resources Staffing (CRS). The staffing allows anyone with specific concerns or questions concerning a child, teen and/or family challenges (for example: behavior problems, truancy, chronic runaway, incorrigibility, drug use, etc.) to address these issues with representatives from several different agencies in an effort to assist the family in finding options for services. These services could include finding an educational advocate, parent support groups, parenting classes on how to parent teens, individual and family counseling to name a few. A child or teen does not have to be court involved to have a staffing." (Maricopa County Superior Court, Juvenile Court Division).
We are parents of a defiant & verbally aggressive & threatening 15 year old. A recent conflict ended with me as his adoptive stepdad giving him the choice to either work on better behavior or we would need to find alternate living for him. He chose to leave the house and is staying at various friends houses. What obligations do we as parents have to ensure a safe living environment and can we legally force him to return home?
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