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oh_mothertucker

custody of an orphan

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We are currently caring for a child who is an orphan but in the legal custody of Children services. We do not want to adopt him as he is almost 17. However, we are unsure of the best way to file. Do we want custody or guardianship and what is the difference? We want him to be able to continue to receive any benefits available to him as an orphan but get him out of the system. We are in Ohio.

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I'm making an assumption from the limited information in your message that the child is in agency custody under PPLA status. If so, have you approached the agency about transferring custody to you? If they're willing, they would file the motion and do the work for you. If not, you may have a problem.

You don't specifically give your relationship to this child and that may make a difference. For you to file yourself for custody, you would need to first intervene to be made a party to the existing case. Ohio case law allows intervention in these cases only under very certain facts. If you don't fit the criteria, you are out of luck.

You will not be able to file for guardianship as there is an open agency case in the juvenile court. This means that only the juvenile court can make orders regarding this child. In Ohio, a guardianship must be ordered by a probate court and is therfore not an option.

There may be a potential loss of benefits but it depends on the benefits you are referencing. You may want to give additional information.

Seek local counsel experienced in juvenile law - specifically abuse/neglect/dependency cases. Best of luck to you.

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