The recent trend where grandparents are taking care of their grandchildren has become more apparent in recent years in Texas and around the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The number skyrocketed from 2.4 million to 4.9 million children in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010. Acting in the best interest of the child, courts often award full or partial custody to the grandparents who are willing to extend their help.
Children are placed in the custody of grandparents for many reasons, including a parent’s inability to take care of them due to illness, physical abuse, domestic violence or loss of income. Grandparents typically have a good relationship with their grandchildren and can provide a stable and safe environment. In cases of permanent placement, the agreement can be modified allowing the biological parent specific visitation rights and parenting time. In some instances, the children are placed in care of the grandparents because they were abandoned by their parents. The legal system always considers the closest members of the family first before placing the child in the foster care system.
There are presently many resources for grandparents who decide to once again raise children, including guides prepared by federal, state and local agencies. Local businesses, educational institutions and medical providers typically participate in a variety of programs and try to contribute to the welfare of the children.
Becoming a child’s guardian and protector late in life may be burdensome, and the legal process may often be prolonged and confusing. A family law attorney can explain the process in detail so that the grandparents can better understand the course of action needed to be taken.
Source: Deseret News, “At granny’s house: More children raised by grandparents than before“, Lois M. Collins, August 05, 2014