Dear Savvy Auntie,

I am an Aunt to my sister's daughters. The youngest niece has been the typical girl, college bound, and holds a job. Her sister "C" is 3 years older and has had medical issues and has a some type of learning disability and little immature. C is 25 and lives at home... she recently obtained her driver's license and has held the same job for four years or more. Her dad feels she can be sufficient on her own and has played hardball to make her life miserable, but her maturity level is not of a 25 year old.

After pressure...they found a group home for her in not the best area of Cincinnati. This was presented to the family as a place without roommates with drug backgrounds, no children, etc... but we have found out differently. Our naive girl has been forced to the real world. Other than offering an open door for C and prayers for her safety...I feel like a helpless aunt. What else can I do?

Helpless Aunt

Dear Helpless Aunt,

What a painful position you are in!  I suggest you visit the group home your niece is living in and see for yourself both the conditions and how she is coping. Afterwards, try to have a face to face conversation with both your sister and her husband. Try very hard to first get their point of view and then ask if there is another option to be considered. Gather as many professional resources, before the talk so you can offer neutral solutions.

If all else fails, it is a deeply caring and generous offer to have her live with you; but be prepared for the difficulties and burdens.
I wish you the best,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


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