As an attorney working in the area of family law I can think no more frustrating or sad sort of case than a CPScase. From the child’s perspective, it is being alleged that he or she has been the victim of abuse or neglect at the hands of a person who is legally obligated to care for their best interests. From the parent’s perspective, their life has been thrown out of whack no matter if he or she actually did abuse or neglect their child.
If the abuse or neglect did occur then their rights and duties associated with raising the child will rightfully be in question moving forward. If the abuse or neglect did not occur that will not stop CPS from conducting a full scale investigation and even involving the legal system to an extent.
A part of CPS cases that is not discussed near as much as the role of parents and children is the impact the case will have on other family members, notably grandparents. We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”.
This situation quite literally involves your family taking on the role of the village when you are told by a court or state agency like CPS that you cannot raise your child, either permanently or temporarily.
While the child is fortunate that he or she has family available and willing to care for them, the grandparents are put in a position where the ultimate responsibility to protect the child’s well being is on their shoulders without much assistance often times from outside sources.
Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will focus on the issue of grandparents in CPS cases. How a CPS case can become a multi-generational saga is an example of collateral damage that can stem from a CPS investigation.
Grandparents as primary caretakers of children
Think back to your childhood and see if you can remember any friends or classmates whose grandparents were their primary caretakers. I’m willing to bet you can think of at least one child whose parents, for whatever reason, were not in the picture and their grandparents stepped up to the plate to raise him or her.
Why are grandparents so often thrust back into the role of primary caregiver for a child under the age of eighteen?
In situations where parents lose their jobs, find themselves involved in time consuming and expensive divorces and other life altering situations, grandparents can often find themselves in a position to fill the void left by a parent. Maybe the parent has to find work in another town and is not able to be physically present as often due to traveling back and forth for work.
Parents who are going through a divorce also can rely on grandparents as a temporary caretaker until their lives are more or less returned to normal. What happens, however, if mom or dad become addicted to drugs and a CPS investigation is opened against him or her.
CPS involvement in a family’s lives may lead to grandparents becoming responsible for a child
If your son or daughter has an addiction to drugs and alcohol, an extremely difficult set of circumstances may arise where he or she is no longer able to care for your grandchild due to CPS intervention. Any person can make a CPS report against your child is he or she has put your child at risk of serious physical or emotional harm as a result of their substance abuse.
If we take a look at CPS investigations across the State of Texas there is a high probability that drug or alcohol abuse in some way has impacted the life of at least one person involved in the case.
Persons who are addicted to drugs or alcohol become fully consumed by their disease and will act out in any way that he or she believes will allow them to satisfy their desire for whatever addictive substance their body calls out for.
Where does Texas law come down in relation to grandparents in custody cases?
It may surprise you to learn that the laws in our state do not necessarily favor placing children with their grandparents over any other similarly situated party. Rather than make known to a CPS case worker that they are the primary caretakers for the child in question, grandparents will remain quiet and act as if the child has been living with his or her parents.
In so doing, grandparents can inadvertently miss out on services offered by CPS for the caretakers of children involved in CPS investigations who are no longer living at home.
It is natural for you as a grandparent to be worried not only about the well being of the grandchild who is in your care, but also for your child who is possibly suffering from their own difficult circumstances on top of any pending CPS investigation.
To the degree that your worrying keeps you from learning about the law, how the law impacts your life and other services available to assist you in caring for your grandchild you are put in an even more difficult position.
Are you on a fixed income from social security? Are you only able to work part time due to a disability that you suffer from or that your spouse suffers from that requires additional care throughout the day?
These are the sort of real life concerns that grandparents often have in relation to CPS cases involving their grandchildren where they have taken on the responsibility as primary caretaker of the child.
There is no specific right for grandparents to have even visitation with their grandchildren, so you can imagine how the deck may be stacked against you in terms of ultimately winning legal custody of your grandchild. However, you do have rights to initate legal proceedings on behalf of your grandchild.
Also, if CPS has already initiated a legal case involving your grandchild you also have rights in this context. All is certainly not lost, but knowing and applying your rights appropriately is crucially important.
Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn more about grandparent rights in Texas
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have served as effective advocates for Texas grandparents in southeast Texas and would be honored to potentially do the same for you. If you have questions or concerns about a situation involving you and your family please do not hesitate to contact our office.
A free of charge consultation is available six days a week in which your questions can be answered.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- What to know about Child Protective Services
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
- Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 3
- Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families
- What can be done if CPS has taken possession of your child in Texas?
- CPS and how The Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Texas Child Visitation Modification
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1
- Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas CPS defense Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding CPS, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX CPS defense lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our cps defense lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles cps cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.