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She's Getting High While Her Husband Is Deployed. What About the Kids?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I really need some advice. My sister is a weed head in the States, while her husband is living a great life in South Korea and their children are suffering.

My brother-in-law was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. My sister and her kids live in Clarksville, Tennessee, right off the base, but I live in Berea, Kentucky. I try to visit with my sister as often as I can but, every time I come down, she's lying in bed sleeping off a hangover from alcohol, with her weed pipe and bowl sitting next to her.

My niece and nephew are not even going to school. The house is a mess, there's no food in the house and, last week, I had to pay their water bill because the service had been off for almost a week.

The smell in the house was horrible. The kids looked like they hadn't been bathed in weeks. I don't know who to be more mad at -- my sister or her husband. He's all on Facebook having a grand old time in Korea. He's always partying at some bar with all types of women around him like he's the big shot, while his children are suffering.

I know my sister is sad and depressed about what her husband is doing, so she is just smoking and drinking her life away.

How I can get help for my sister and her children? Someone could come in and snatch the children, and she would never know it. Should I call the child protection authorities and make a report?

I'm really scared for my niece and nephew.

-- Scared

Dear Scared,

There are a lot of options for you. No doubt, both parents have forgotten about their children. One is at home getting high all day, every day, and the other one is partying in South Korea like there's no tomorrow.

I'm scared for the children too. Moreover, I'm concerned about your sister because who knows what she's smoking. She could be using more than just marijuana and alcohol.

Convincing your sister to get help will probably never happen. She's most likely in denial about how much she's using and how it's affecting her.

You can ask your sister to give you a power of attorney so that you can take temporary custody of the children. This way, you will know they are safe. Hopefully, you have other relatives in Berea who will help you with them. I also think if you took them without a power of attorney, she probably wouldn't even care.

Second, everyone is a mandatory reporter when it comes to the safety of children. You can make a call to Child Protective Services and report what is happening. However, you have to be willing to accept what may happen if they come to the house and find your sister laid out high and the children unattended. They will take the children and place them in protective custody, and you will have to go to court to get temporary custody of them.

Third, get on Facebook and confront the party animal in South Korea. Tag him in photos of his home in its current sorry condition. He has to be held responsible too. If he knows what's going on and chooses to look the other way, then he too is negligent.

Last, you can contact the Family Advocacy Program on post at Fort Campbell and talk to one of the social workers about your sister and her children. They will be able to give you some guidance. If you do an online search, you should be able to get their number.

I hope this helps. Keep in touch!

-- Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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