What you should do to cover all your bases is file a petition for support and a petition for custody in family court. When you submit your petition for child support you must declare whether you have applied for public assistance. In terms of child custody, you should keep in mind that anything you talk over the father will not be a binding order. In other words, if he just verbally agrees to not take the children to the residence of his family members, but does so anyway, you will not have any recourse such as filing a petition for violation. The best thing to do to ensure that all your issues are heard and addresses is to file a petition for custody and then to work out an agreement to be ordered by the court with the father.
If the child's father is not seeing the child, you can ask that he first have supervised visitation. I agree with the other lawyer that you should file for child support and custody. Note that arrears for child support run only to the date that you filed the petition. You may not get arrears prior to the petition, so don't delay too long.
Morghan Leia Richardson, Esq.
Richardson Legal PLLC
31-08 Broadway, Suite 204
Astoria, New York 11106
You need to be proactive and file for custody. When you are before the Court, you can raise your concerns about the child's exposure to his family members and, more than likely, an attorney will be appointed to protect the child's interest whose voice is given great weight by the Court. Don't delay, protect yourself.