Visitation of mentally challenged sibling
February 27, 2008 11:27 AM   Subscribe

How can visitation to brother occur without approval of guardian?

David was the foster brother of Nick. Nick, currently 28, is about three year old mental development and seven to ten social development. David has custody/guardianship of Nick and will not let Nick's brother Ken, age 18, visit him.

Is there a legal method/right that can be used for Ken to visit his brother Nick. Foster brother David will not let the visitation take place. A change in custody is not desired, just visitation.

(Names have been changed, but the facts are accurate.) This post is for a friend. Thank you for any assistance. Internet searches were not successful.
posted by Leenie to Human Relations (5 answers total)
This all depends on which country, state/province and county, municipality, etc. these people live in.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:30 AM on February 27, 2008

More information... This is in Oregon, USA.

Any idea on where/who to contact? Is this a DHS function? Adult & Family Services? Courts? We have been unable to find any useful information for this situation.

Thanks again for any help
posted by Leenie at 11:37 AM on February 27, 2008

I could answer this in the UK, but not in the US. I assume, however, that "Nick" has some sort of learning disability and would suggest that The Learning Disabilities Association of Oregon might be able to offer advice. Nick might benefit from an advocate. I would think that it partly depends how long it is since "Ken" and Nick have met - if Ken can't suggest that Nick will remember him and there is a bond between them, professionals and courts might suggest that it's not in Nick's best interests to have contact with Ken.
posted by paduasoy at 1:20 PM on February 27, 2008

I'm in Oregon, and am a social worker. I'd suggest contacting the branch of Senior and Disabled Services where they live and see if your friend's brother has a case manager there, who might be able to facilitate this. I'm curious why David won't let the visit occur. Is it for some nefarious reason, or well-intentioned? Is there something that would be upsetting for Nick about seeing his brother? Is his brother a safe and appropriate person? Or is David, say, embezzling all of Nick's SSI and not wanting anyone to find out?

And yes, if need be, your friend could consult with an attorney.

Just remembered The Arc, which is a support and advocacy group for folks with mental retardation. They'd be a great first contact, I think.
posted by purenitrous at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2008

Long story short, David kicked Ken out at age 17. Ken and Nick shared bunkbeds and a room for years and got along great. David was taking SSN monies from Ken (survivor) and from Nick (disability). Ken wants to see Nick and make sure everything is okay and to touch base... There are A LOT of other issues here, but this explains it in simple terms.

We managed to get passed from person to person today at the county and got an answer. It turns out that in a case where a mentally challenged person (Nick) is in the guardianship of another person (David), that person can deny access to all but the persons parents (Nick and Kens parents are deceased). Since Ken is a brother and not a parent, no access to Nick is currently available without permission of David.

Bummer :-(
posted by Leenie at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2008

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