Place: upstate NY (Fort Drum and a to-be-determined second location in upstate NY)
Already read: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, various "family member of deployed servicemember" info on the Fort Drum website, various New York State social services laws.
Already searched: variants on "deployed servicemember CPS investigation" and "foster care military family" (with the -pets modifier due to the massive amount of information on fostering pets).
Basically, I want to make sure none of this comes out totally unrealistic, and I'd like to avoid simply handwaving it by having the servicemember killed in action.
There is a military couple with five kids ranging in age from eleven years to newborn. Dad gets sent to Iraq sometime either when Mom is pregnant or shortly after newborn is born.
Mom, unfortunately, develops a case of postpartum psychosis that leads her to threaten/attempt infanticide because she believes her baby is demon-possessed. 911 is called, Mom is taken to mental hospital (where she proceeds to be an utterly uncooperative patient), kids are taken by CPS.
As per New York State law, they go into an emergency placement and within 30 days, an extensive search for relatives is made. The uncle that is listed as basically a backup caregiver for a circumstance such as this ends up failing a background check and as such cannot be approved as a caregiver.
However, there is a suitable relative. She is the children's aunt, single, in her early-mid 20s (legally old enough to foster), has an employment history that mostly consists of working with children, has an absolutely spotless background and glowing character references, and will gladly do whatever is needed to become a kinship foster parent and see that all five kids can be placed together (which is a feat in and of itself).
She also...does not get along so well with the parents of these kids. Or more to the point, they don't get along with her due to various ideological differences.
Basically, I need Auntie to end up with the kids in the end (long-term if not permanently; I'm not quite sure how this is going to go), but I need Mom and Dad to try to stir up trouble along the way where this is concerned, because they do NOT want their kids cared for by Auntie due to aforementioned ideological differences. (There are other relatives who share Mom and Dad's ideals, but for various reasons they either physically or legally can't take the kids.) If the trouble Mom and Dad try to stir up actually hurts their case, that works well.
I know the civilian rules for CPS pretty well but don't know enough about the military side of things. Basically, what I need to know is:
- At what point could or would Dad be sent home from Iraq to contest all this?
- If that happened, when would he have to go back, if at all?
- Would the Army get involved and try to move the kids to a military family?
- What else would affect a situation like this? I don't know what I don't know, and I don't want to create anything unbelievable.