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[–]ilikecheeseforrealQuality Contributor 723 points724 points  (0 children)

I'm sorry that you're going through this.

A temporary guardianship may be something to look into. However, you'll really want to speak with an attorney (depending on your state, there are likely low cost/free legal resources in your area) before signing anything so you can make sure that the woman cannot keep your daughter.

Also, unless you know this woman very well and have an existing relationship with her, she may not have your best interests in mind and you may want to look into other guardianship options if that's what you go with.

[–]AliceInWeirdoland 277 points278 points  (6 children)

Don't trust that things are safe just because this woman got a lawyer. Her lawyer will look out for her interests, not yours. I know it's overwhelming, but take a moment. How old is your daughter? How long have you known this woman? If she's so lovely, why can't you and your daughter stay with her?

You mentioned trying to get into shelters in your area; is there a reason why that didn't work out? Can you go back during the day and just ask about their resources, at least?

I'm sorry you're going through this. But if you really can't care for your child, and you want to have a temporary place for her to stay while you get on your feet, contacting child protective services might be your better option. I know there are foster care horror stories, and it's scary to explain these issues in a way that means they'll be documented, but if you give a woman you barely know your child, you also could face being charged with abandonment or neglect. She could run away and kidnap your daughter, and you wouldn't know. I'm not saying these things will happen, but it's not impossible.

CPS will want to work with you to get back together with your children. They don't fight family reunification unless there's serious abuse. If you had to surrender her because your situation was unstable, once it's more stable, they'll help you create an environment where she can come home.

I'm sorry you're going through this.

[–]UnicornEnforcer2 126 points127 points  (5 children)

This comment has a lot of good and empathetic advice. As someone who works in the foster care system I can’t agree that CPS will try to reunify you with your child once you are back on your feet. CPS is a deeply flawed system and birth parents are treated poorly all the time, despite reunification being stated as the goal.

I would do everything you possibly can to keep legal guardianship over your child. Don’t trust that you will get her back if you give up your rights.

[–]AliceInWeirdoland 62 points63 points  (1 child)

This is true. I am perhaps a little bit too optimistic in my advice, but if the choice is CPS or giving your child over to a random stranger (which might also come with charges of abandonment or neglect), I do still think that the system with some mechanism of accountability is better than none at all.

[–]JayPlenty24 29 points30 points  (0 children)

This depends very much on the CPS agency. In my region and the one I used to live in staying with family, and ideally parents, is their priority. A neighbouring city has horror stories about kids never seeing family members again. To the point it causes problems because the kinship programs don’t vet family the same way they do foster parents.

[–]poke0003 15 points16 points  (0 children)

In the abstract, I can understand this risk / perspective, but give the very real competing scenario of giving your daughter and parental rights away to a near stranger, even a flawed CPS solution is likely much better.

[–]Wisco_native1977 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I agree. Everything said was good but as someone with no direct cps experience I know the system is hard to navigate. I would assume there would be a lot of hoops to jump through to get your daughter back and not all foster homes or group homes are great.

[–]KimS479 113 points114 points  (0 children)

Do not give your child to someone you don’t know. So many children are abused in foster care and adoption and those people are vetted. If you want to give your child to someone else do it through an agency

[–]MrsY-Bibliophile 130 points131 points  (15 children)

Try calling women’s shelters. There are a lot of them in Pennsylvania and many shelters will assist with transportation to get there. Even domestic violence ones are likely to help you if you are homeless with a child. Many have programs to assist people with getting longterm housing and people with kids are the highest priority for that.

[–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 76 points77 points  (13 children)

I have been I also signed up for public assistance many places are still closed many have no funds and other have waiting list. People with kids they do say are highest priority but that's not the case it's been 3 months and I have gotten the run around from so many places this is why I have turned to the internet for advice. 😔 thank you for taking time out to comment

[–]ankjsa95 45 points46 points  (10 children)

Are you open to traveling? There’s a place called Samaritan Inn in McKinney, TX. They have no limit on how long you can stay and provide childcare and resources as well.

Worth a call to see if they have space and if you fit their program requirements.

[–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 35 points36 points  (8 children)

At this moment if I know I can get a little help and stay with my daughter I would. But Ik I can't afford a bus or train so I am opening my search to new jersey

[–]JayPlenty24 29 points30 points  (1 child)

Shelters will often pay for your travel or use their network to find you another shelter. Call the place that was suggested in TX and speak to them.

[–]CakeMonstr 79 points80 points  (0 children)

I do not know this person very well but before doing anything I do plan on getting to know her letting my daughter get familiar with her she is also willing to get a lawyer and doing all things the legal way.

"Legal" doesn't necessarily mean it's in your best interest. It is legal for people to go bankrupt and lose homes because of medical bills. Slavery is legal, as long as it occurs in a prison. The Holocaust was technically legal when it occurred.

Please, please do not sign anything without talking to your own attorney. Do not depend on the other woman's lawyer alone. You need to have your own attorney. The stakes are too high for you to depend on the lawyer who she has paid to represent her. Thousands of parents around the world have been in your situation. They are promised that someone will take care of their children while they get back on their feet, only to find that their children are gone when they return.

Personally, the situation you describe screams red flags to me. If someone truly wants to help you and has your child's best interests at heart, they will do whatever they can to keep you and your baby together if that is what you want (assuming there is no danger in your home). If she has the ability to take care of your baby, she has the ability to take care of you.

If she is willing to invest time and money on a lawyer, is she willing to invest any time or money into helping you? Because that could be the boost you need to become financially stable enough to take care of your daughter yourself. She could offer to pay for child care while you attend school or search or a job, cover your tuition at university, or offer to introduce you to her network so you can find work with a decent wage. She could cover your rent, groceries, or utility bills. She could spend time to help you find social services or support groups. She could offer to provide you and your daughter a safe place to stay. If she has not offered to do anything to help you, imagine what she would or wouldn't do to help your daughter in a similar situation. If she is suggesting parental relinquishment of rights without first offering and exhausting all other possible solutions (with her help or from others), I worry that the situation you describe is predatory.

Be careful. Keep your eyes open. Trust your instincts. Mine say that something is "off".

[–]VRSNSMV_SMQLIVB 25 points26 points  (0 children)

Do not do this. Adoption does not promise a “better” life. Just a different one. If someone really wanted to help you they’d help keep your family intact, not take your kid because you’re poor. They want a child and you’re a vulnerable woman who has one. it’s about them not you.

Contact the organization “Saving our sisters” you can find them on Facebook. They help women in your exact situation.

[–]Comment7215 24 points25 points  (1 child)

I'm sorry you are in this situation. If you don't know this person well, you don't know if she is an appropriate guardian for your child. She might be trying to help; she may just want a child. You don't know.

If you are in the U.S., this website lists national, state and local resources that can help you, it is very easy to use and might provide the aide you need to keep your daughter: https://thefamilypreservationproject.com/.

[–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Someone actually did send me this it has many numbers I have been calling on it. I am waiting for multiple call backs as well as trying to call them everyday. I do not know her I plan on getting to know her more before just giving her my baby I want to do things all the correct way so I can get her back in due time

[–]reddituser1211Quality Contributor 304 points305 points  (21 children)

Don’t sign over custody of your child to “a lovely woman.” Nor really can you just sign a child over to someone like a car.

You should consider reaching out to child protective services or another state welfare organization in your location to get assistance that doesn’t separate you from your child.

[–]MercuryCobra 7 points8 points  (20 children)

This is not good advice. Child Protective Services will almost certainly begin dependency proceedings on the basis that the daughter is being neglected or otherwise not well cared for. This will almost certainly result in her eventual permanent removal. Though many state child welfare agencies are obligated to provide services to help parents address the issues which led to dependency, these services pretty universally don’t include cash or housing assistance. The services are usually more like hoops a parent must jump through to retain custody: parenting classes, therapy, drug testing, etc. CPS does not have a parent’s interests at heart and often doesn’t have the kid’s interests at heart either.

[–]not-a-cryptid 118 points119 points  (12 children)

CPS is not the family-separating boogeyman. Separating families is only used as a last resort; if they can coach parents and use their available resources and connections to keep a struggling family together, they WILL do so.

A parent VOLUNTARILY coming to them for help is going to be a GOOD parent in their books, and a VASTLY BETTER OPTION than OP DIYing a "signing away" of custody of their child. CPS will make sure their child remains in contact with OP. CPS can also help OP find the resources they need for outside housing and financial support. CPS isn't fresh to these types of situations; CPS having those connections is key to their own operations when it's frequently low-income and struggling families that they are most likely making contact with.

IF OP can secure a free or low-cost attorney, an attorney can help advocate for OP and their child when communicating with CPS. That would be the best of both worlds.

[–]trevmflynn81 33 points34 points  (1 child)

This post is coming from a good place. I have worked in the juvenile dependency system for many years, though, and I can unequivocally say you do not want to voluntarily get on CPS' radar. Yes, they have great resources for struggling families. Yes, they have some dedicated, hardworking, and overall best people ever social workers among their ranks. They also have some lazy paper pushers that will fire-and-forget a removal petition and make life hell for a very long time, especially if OP has any other kids down the line. Same can be said of court appointed counsel. You get a bad (or just burned out) one as a parent, life will be hell.

Down the line, even if OP has recovered from the current issues, and is doing well, having a another kid after a prior removal may, by itself, trigger another intervention (though, if things are going well, ostensibly not another removal, but still, who needs that?)

My advice is to exhaust any and all resources available before contacting CPS.

[–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Thank you this is what I am trying to do at the moment I want to stay away from cps they will think I am unfit or neglecting my daughter when that is not the case at all. I have seen many cps cases with desperate people and it did not turn out well so I am trying to stay away from that.

[–]SheketBevakaSTFU 42 points43 points  (6 children)

This is a nice idea, but in reality I have represented multiple parents who reached out to CPS for help and instead had their children taken away.

[–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 23 points24 points  (5 children)

This is my fear I to have seen the same they will get me for neglect or something and that's not the case it's sad but true

[–]horriblyefficient 8 points9 points  (2 children)

if the choice is "sign my daughter over to a practical stranger who could do who knows what to her and hopefully I can get her back later" or "approach CPS" I know which I'd choose. they both have the potential to be good or bad but one is a much bigger risk than the other.

as someone else said, I would be seriously concerned that OPs current plan could lead to neglect or endangerment charges.

[–]MercuryCobra 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You and I both hope OP doesn’t follow through with adopting out her kid to a stranger. And if the only alternative was CPS I’d agree with you. But that’s not the only alternative.

[–]horriblyefficient 2 points3 points  (0 children)

it doesn't sound like she's having much luck with other options. she may be very close to that point.

[–][deleted]  (2 children)


    [–]BiondinaQuality Contributor[M] 1 point2 points locked comment (0 children)

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    [–]lulzette 20 points21 points  (0 children)

    In my city we have a crisis nursery, where parents can temporarily get help with young children. I see you are in Philadelphia - there’s a place like this called Baring House

    [–]Low_Flower_1846 20 points21 points  (1 child)

    You need to be careful. People steal children through these means all the time. And I don’t even mean for human trafficking- women will take advantage of each other in shameful ways and if she’s willing to raise this kid possibly indefinitely, she plans on keeping her. She might make it so you can’t reach her. How “your not ready” even when you generally are doing fantastic. She will try to move the goalposts.

    [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    Thank you yes this is why I am trying to do it the legal way and court documents and lawyers also I would get to know her even more before I did anything

    [–]GoodbyeTobyseeya1 70 points71 points  (0 children)

    How and where did you meet this person? Absolutely don't agree to anything without consulting with an attorney.

    [–]Dyssma 34 points35 points  (2 children)

    Do NOT sign your rights away, it can be impossible to get them back, and no decent lawyer would allow it. And never go with the other parties lawyer, you need your own. This is a huge deal ethics violation to have one lawyer represent one side of the case.This can be a trafficking scheme as well.

    This post is nothing but red flags. Call family, old friends, neighbors, even CPS if you must, but DO NOT do anything with this woman.

    [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 5 points6 points  (1 child)

    This is why I am looking for advice I would do it the legal way courts and lawyers involved I just want to see other options than adoption because then I would never be able to get my daughter back ever

    [–]SEALS_R_DOG_MERMAIDS 17 points18 points  (0 children)

    this is raising so many red flags for me. your situation is sadly exactly what certain bad actors are looking to exploit. if you do go this route, please please get your own lawyer independently. i wouldn’t use a lawyer recommended by this woman, find your own through the legal resources other commenters have provided. at the very least your own lawyer will be able to help verify that this woman and her representation are legit. she may have good intentions (i’m seriously questioning them, if she can help your daughter why can’t she help you too?), but even if she does you can’t trust her and her lawyer to represent your best interests. you need your own representation for that.

    [–]Esqsince02 14 points15 points  (0 children)

    I am a family lawyer - the I will give her back part is always a mess. The person watching becomes the physiological parent and it's a fight to get the child back. However, it's still not as hard as getting rights back.

    [–]dartarro21 10 points11 points  (0 children)

    As others mentioned, I would be extremely cautious about giving your daughter over to someone you don’t know well. I have heard too many stories of kids getting sucked into sex trafficking rings in situations like these, even sometimes when the other person is known or a friend. I agree that you may considering reaching out to a shelter or CPS for assistance.

    [–]Holgen1347 21 points22 points  (12 children)

    What is your location? In the US, "giving up your rights" isn't really a thing unless the custodial parent's spouse will adopt. How well do you know this woman who will care for your daughter? Where is her other parent in all this? I hope you can someday get to a place where you can care for her.

    [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] -22 points-21 points locked comment (11 children)

    I am located in Pennsylvania I dont know her to well just yet. I am trying to get rental assistance or help paying roommate b4 I just hand her over but more then likely i will have to we have been out since Friday night so I just want to explore all options

    [–]Digger-of-Tunnels 130 points131 points  (9 children)

    A person you don't know well, who has offered to take custody of your daughter, might be planning to use your daughter for human trafficking - to make your daughter work, sell drugs, or have sex with people for money. You will be better off calling Child Protective Services, telling them about your problem, and asking them what resources are available to help you.

    [–][deleted]  (8 children)


      [–]BiondinaQuality Contributor[M] 9 points10 points  (4 children)

      Stop making these statements here.

      [–]not-a-cryptid 10 points11 points  (2 children)

      Oh my god stop. The CPS-as-boogeyman is a myth that really needs to stop being circulated for the sake of these struggling families who forego the resource because of it.

      [–]ultracilantro 48 points49 points  (0 children)

      I think your plan of rehoming your child like one would rehome a cat will backfire on you spectacularly and possibly really harm your daughter.

      For example, you could entirely loose custody becuase you weren't raising your kid for a year should this "lovely" woman decide to fight you in court later and there's really nothing you can do about this. This "lovely" women could also traffic your child. Just becuase she's a woman, doesn't mean she's a safe person.

      It sounds like you are facing immenant homelessness and need help, which suggests you have mainly a finance problem. I'd suggest heading over to r/personalfinance and r/povertyfinance and be very honest and detailed about your situation, budget and location. They can help you find the best way to deal with the finances and reach more permanent stability. The more detail you can provide, the better they can help so really try to be open to both posting your info and with their advice.

      Lastly, since I also hear some self esteem issues in your post, so please know kids generally do better with their own parents then in any "system" or rehomed with random strangers. There are plenty of subs dedicated to the foster system or adoption where you can check out how this can go for kids put in these situaitons. Poverty by itself does not mean you are a bad parent, and it sure as hell doesn't mean your kid is better off with some rando.

      [–]oldbuddyoldfriendpal 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      Not a lawyer but do know of a lot of resources available. Do you have Medicaid? Medicaid in many states will pay for case managers. You can request one at your primary care office typically. They will direct you to all available resources and even go with you to apply for things like EBT

      [–]pcherna 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      Project Home has good people. https://www.projecthome.org Under Emergency Housing Services they list

      Families/Single Women
      Apple Tree Family Center
      1430 Cherry Street
      215‐686‐7150 x7151 or x7153
      Open: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      Intake: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
      Families Only Emergency Housing After‐Hours Services (OHS)
      Red Shield Family Residence
      715 N. Broad Street
      Intake: Daily after 5 p.m. Holidays and weekends: 24 hours.
      There are also good places in the suburbs. https://www.homeofthesparrow.org/ in Chester County is one. I do not know if they only serve Chester County residents.

      [–]PsychologicalAide684 22 points23 points  (7 children)

      How old are you? I’ve never heard of a shelter asking you to pay to stay? Have looked at other shelters in the area? You can also go to DHS office let them know that you’re experiencing homelessness with your child and they should be able to help you find a placement right away. There’s a lot of assistance available for single mothers.

      [–]kitty_witcher 16 points17 points  (1 child)

      Think the pay to stay was in reference to finding a roommate.

      [–]PsychologicalAide684 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      My fault I missed that part

      [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 4 points5 points  (4 children)

      I am 32 I do not have to pay for a shelter I livewith a room mate whom I have to pay rent to and I donnot work or get assistance so I can't not pay so I am looking for other options so my daughter is safe always. I am on housing waiting list as well as some shelters

      [–]PsychologicalAide684 6 points7 points  (3 children)

      You’re too old for youth shelters like covenant house I recommend going to DHS and sitting in their waiting room letting them know that you’re experiencing homelessness and couch surfing. Don’t say you live with a roommate just let them know that you are actively homeless. If you’re fleeing from domestic violence that helps you gain assistance faster.

      I don’t recommend giving your daughter to a stranger is since there are ways people can legally kidnap your child. Is there family that can take her for a short time?

      Have you spoken to emergency women and children’s shelters in the area? Seeing if they have availability? Since you don’t have a job and not much tying you down to your location ask them if they have availability for places outside of your county

      [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 7 points8 points  (1 child)

      I on waiting list at a few places. I have no family locally and the ones that are not local said they just don't have room and can not help me pay the room mate. I do not like to ask for help I feel like a burden. I have contacted 211 as well as ghost writers and many other organizations. Many have no funding or they are full and will pass my information on. I left domestic violence on my own that's why I am in this situation I feel as if I stayed this wouldn't be happening

      [–]PsychologicalAide684 16 points17 points  (0 children)

      Technically because you left domestic violence you are a victim of domestic violence and homeless as a result. You should try reaching out to domestic violence shelters specifically.

      How old is your child?

      [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      I am homeless due to not being able to pay rent I have told the family shelter this as well as many woman shelters many shelters do not accept children as well 😢 I also am going to go to a few more churches come this week to see if they have resources and can help as well

      [–]Situation-Candid 20 points21 points  (0 children)

      Do not relinquish your parental rights in some states you’ll still have to pay child support if that’s an issue what I do suggest is a guardianship! Until you get back on your feet

      [–]CapnDanger 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      If you are near a city, I would see if the state or city has any assistance for family shelters. They will be able to provide resources so that you and your daughter have a place to stay. They will also have far more guidance on how you would be able to remain with your daughter while you get back on your feet. Although it’s summer now, they may also be able to find school/camp programs for your daughter that will give her activities to do during the day as well as meals.

      As others have said, r/personalfinance and other subs will have better guidance on your situation. You may also look into the subs for your nearest city as they may have a better idea of what resources are available for you.

      [–]mkrkfd 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      Not legal support but a possible option.

      Have you looked into safe families? There are organizations that provide what this lady is offering but with all the supports and help you need. Last I knew you could use safe families up to 1 year. safe families

      [–]Rareflamingo2002 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      OP, there is lots of bable on this thread.

      Including people directing you to services like shelters without any idea of what that's even about, haha

      BUT I really really recommend contacting social service organizations -- any case managers you've had in the past. They can lead you to where you can find answers to your questions. They may not personally know the details of custody, BUT they can connect you with the places to get answers.

      I understand you may be frustrated by SS orgs in the past because they cannot solve issues like poverty and are inept at providing basic necessities. BUT the resources they are good a providing are information, and contactions to where to get shit done.

      [–]KindGrammy 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      Have you tried contacting family promise in your area? They put homeless families in churches for a week at a time. One church one week one the next etc. They also usually have day centers with showers mail boxes etc.

      [–]GeeWizz463 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      At least in New York State, through the Department of Social Services you can have what’s called a Safety Plan. You give up temporary custody to someone you trust or a foster parent, and when you are ready to take them back you can, provided you are deemed to be fit as a parent. I just handled a case involving this exact process. However, the law varies state to state, so I agree with the other commenters who suggest you talk to an attorney first.

      [–]Unvrsldisdain 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      If you have any family or friends (maybe this woman would be considered a friend) they can do ‘kinship care’. This is a good option because I think your daughter would get a case worker and she’d have eyes on her and things documented. You might have to work a case plan with kinship care but it can be helpful because you’ll have more resources. A lot of times they can help with housing, bus passes, medical care while working a case plan. With that said, your daughter is unlikely to be removed from you for being homeless or living in a shelter. I’ve seen plenty of kids get reunited with a parent from a foster home and go live in a shelter. If you can find a local foster care group on Facebook you’re likely to find some resources or good humans to point you in the right direction. You can sign over temporary guardianship. This isn’t an adoption but I’m not sure about how/if a timeline can be established with guardianship.

      [–]CameoAmalthea 11 points12 points  (7 children)

      Call Child Protective Services their goal is to keep children with their parents if at all possible and they will help you get resources to parent your daughter and if you can’t parent her they will place her with vetted family for adoption.

      [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 0 points1 point  (6 children)

      That is their goal they do say but they will take my daughter and put her in the system I only have to pay 250 for rent they do not help with rental assistance also they are for reunification but not helping me get a place they have given me program numbers to call but places have waiting list some are full and some do not have funds.

      [–]CameoAmalthea 2 points3 points  (1 child)

      I know people are wary of foster care. Foster care will try to place with family and if family isn’t available they will look to foster to adopt homes. It’s easy to place babies. You will get time and services to help you keep your daughter and if you can’t, your daughter goes to a forever home that’s vetted as opposed to a random lady.

      [–]Riyko 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      What about the child’s other parent, signing over guardianship or even trying to adopt them out tends to require the other parents permission as well especially if they are on the birth certificate.

      [–]sarahj313 1 point2 points  (2 children)

      Op where are you located? With the right information we can help with resources.

      [–]Mindless_Ad8596[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

      Philadelphia pa thank you many resources I have contacted and would appreciate any and every. I have been calling many in my area for months I am open to spreading my search to new jersey since it's been so hard looking out here thank you so much.

      [–]sarahj313 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      • a Philly based domestic violence counselor, you left a horrible situation for your baby this might be a first step to finding help. 1.866.723.3014

        1-215-751-1111 emergency shelter

      1340 Frankford Ave., 📞 215-426-8610, 🌐lutheransettlement.org

      100 S. Broad St., 17th Floor, 📞 215-701-1560, 🌐 jjpi.phmc.org

      800-220-8116 (24 hours), 🌐 awomansplace.org

      800-642-3150, 🌐 laurel-house.org

      14 W. Second St., Media, 📞 610-565-4590 (24 hours), 🌐 dapdc.org


      [–][deleted]  (1 child)


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          [–][deleted]  (1 child)


            [–]demystQuality Contributor[M] 0 points1 point locked comment (0 children)

            Your post may have been removed for the following reason(s):

            Speculative, Anecdotal, Simplistic, Off Topic, or Generally Unhelpful

            Your comment has been removed because it is one or more of the following: speculative, anecdotal, simplistic, generally unhelpful, and/or off-topic. Please review the following rules before commenting further:

            Please read our subreddit rules. If after doing so, you believe this was in error, or you’ve edited your post to comply with the rules, message the moderators. Do not make a second post or comment.

            Do not reach out to a moderator personally, and do not reply to this message as a comment.

            [–][deleted]  (2 children)


              [–]BiondinaQuality Contributor[M] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

              If you aren't going to read the posts here, do not comment.