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Protecting the Interests of Grandparents and Foster Parents

It can be a vulnerable position as a grandparent in Texas to learn that your grandchild is involved in a Child Protective Services case. Without having much experience in any of these types of cases or dealing with CPS previously, you probably have many questions. However, you have found the agency not to be helpful in terms of helping you learn about what is going on with your grandchild. Additionally, the problem that you are facing is that your child is not interested in bringing you into the case or even allowing you to help in any way. What sort of options do you have 2 protect your grandchild as best as possible?

Suppose that your grandchild is removed from their home due to abuse, neglect or because their parents cannot provide them with adequate care. This is a nightmare situation for any family to go through. Having worked with grandparents who have seen their families deal with this type of stress can be a helpless feeling. The reason is that grandparents do not always have the easiest time intervening in family law cases in general or CPS cases in particular. With that said, there are Child Protective Services attempts to seek adequate living arrangements for your grandchildren you can potentially play a significant role in your grandchild's life.

Child Protective Services will attempt to place your grandchildren with family members. They will look for persons who can pass a background check, be available for the children, have a level of comfort and stability in relation with the children, and participate in any reunification efforts with the parents. Frequently grandparents are the most suitable relative in this regard for placement purposes. However, I've also seen Child Protective Services seemingly overlook well-situated grandparents for reasons that are not always clear to me. With that said, you as a grandparent need to be aware of potential obstacles in your path between you and caring for your grandchildren during this difficult time.

The best advice that I can provide you with is to seek counsel from an experienced family law attorney if you find yourself in a position where your grandchildren face removal from their home due to an ongoing Child Protective Services case. An attorney can be your best resource for showing you how To present yourselves as suitable caregivers are there on a temporary or permanent basis depending on your child's situation as well as your wishes in terms of becoming a permanent caregiver. An attorney can guide you to the process, help you be as accountable as possible with Child Protective Services, and help you present yourselves in the best possible light.

What does a Child Protective Services case look like in Texas?

I want to provide you with an overview of Child Protective Services and the cases that the agency may initiate regarding your grandchildren. The mission of Child Protective Services is to protect children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. The agency has set up telephone hotlines and online mechanisms for reporting potential cases of abuse and neglect. Any person may anonymously make reports to jump Protective Services regarding abuse or neglect of a child. In some circumstances, a child may even be abandoned, and CPS will also intervene at that time.

CPS caseworkers will initiate an investigation if the agency believes there is enough evidence to proceed. The purpose of the study will be to determine what the status is as far as abuse or neglect of a child in terms of needing to remove your grandchildren as part of a more extensive and more ongoing investigation. If your grandchildren are removed from their home, the agency must hold a hearing within 14 days of removal where your child and their Co-parent will have an opportunity to contest removal in an attempt to have the child returned home.

In this initial hearing, the court will be charged with determining whether or not removal was warranted and if it is still necessary. If it is determined that the agency should become the temporary managing conservator of your grandchild, then part of the hearing will focus on where your grandchild will be staying outside the home. CPS may keep your child in a state facility or foster home. Or CPS will look to a relative to provide temporary care. This is where you, as a grandparent, complain about a vital role.

This should tell you that you may only have a couple of weeks to attempt to intervene in the CPS case. Importantly, you need to have your case lined up and have a plan in place if you intend to offer your home as a place of refuge for your grandchildren during the CPS case. Alternatively, if you are not prepared to present yourself as a possible landing spot for your grandchildren, they may end up moving into foster care for the duration of the CPS case.

Requesting placement with you as a grandparent

You may ask CPS that your grandchild be placed with you while the CPS case is ongoing. Your child and their Co-parent will be asked to agree to a safety plan and possibly two family-based social services provided by Child Protective Services. This is an effort to eliminate risks of harm to your grandchild in their home. It may be that simple upkeep at the house is needed to remedy a potential defect or source of damage for your grandchild. Alternatively, your child may need to have an adult removed from the home, which poses a potential risk. Or, your child may need to undergo therapy or counseling to help with addiction or anger management issues.

One direction you could take your case is that you can request 2C PS that your grandchild be placed in your home while their parents are working too when back custody from the state. This does not mean that you will have to become a primary conservator of your grandchildren moving forward. Instead, you can choose to say that you would like to care for your grandchildren for the duration of their CPS case, but you may not wish to proceed any further with the case. This is perfectly fine. Hopefully, your child and the Co-parent will win back Cassidy, and there will be no need for you to play the role of caretaker.

This is a prevalent approach that grandparents take regarding CPS cases. Suppose you believe it is likely that your child will be able to comply with the CPS case and eventually win back custody of your grandchildren. In that case, you may not feel the need to intercede within a CPS case beyond providing temporary care for them throughout the case. Hopefully, the case will come to a close as soon as your child can pass through whatever requirements were agreed to in the CPS case.

Another common reason why you may wish to provide only temporary care for your grandchild is if your child is in jail and you expect them to be released relatively quickly. With that said, you have a good idea of what is expected in terms of a release date and when CPS will no longer be a part of your grandchild's life. This requires your child to be on good behavior while in prison, and you have to be in conversation and communication with CPS and your child. Not everyone in this circumstance will be able to facilitate this type of arrangement. However, it may work well for you and your family.

What are grandparent rights in a CPS case?

Based on the circumstances of your grandchild's case, you may be in a position where you believe that your child's home offers a physical threat to your grandchild. If you do not believe that your grandchild's home environment is conducive to their upbringing, then you can request that your grandchild be placed with you in your home instead of going into a foster care setting. Bear in mind that what you are asking for is still contrary to your child and their goals. This will inevitably make things more complicated.

You are asking court four is an intervention when you attempt to come into a CPS case as a grandparent. You would be seeking permanent custody of your grandchild rather than trying to host your grandchild temporarily as their caretaker. There are a couple of issues that you need to be aware of when attempting to intervene in a CPS case on behalf of your grandchildren. Let's work through those two issues before we move on to discuss other topics related to CPS cases and grandparents' rights.

There is a chance that CPS may move to terminate the parental rights of the New York child. If that does happen, you will be in a better position to intervene in the case and request a permanent conservatorships. Until then, parents prioritize grandparents when it comes to issues like visitation, custody, and conservatorships. If you intend to intervene in the case to become the primary conservator of your grandchild, then you need also to request a termination of your child's parental rights and those of your child's spouse or partner.

The other issue you need to consider is that once you terminate your child's parental rights, you still need to work with CPS to find that placement in your home is in their best interest. Remember that CPS will use the best interest determination when making decisions for your child. This means that what is in your grandchild's best interest will determine custody questions and things of that nature. You will be asking to become your grandchild managing conservator. In general, you must be able to show that you have an established relationship with your grandchild and likely that you cared for them on a frequent basis throughout the past few years. Anything short of that will put you in a position where it will be an uphill climb for you to be named primary conservator, mainly if other suitable options exist.

In many cases, you will find that the CPS agent in the caseworker attached to your case will not be primarily in favor of your being appointed as managing conservator. There may be many reasons why this is the case in your circumstances, but I can tell you that it is sometimes the case that grandparents are unfairly viewed as being too old to care for their grandchildren. I am not telling you that you are too old to care for grandchildren by any means. However, this is something for you to bear in mind as you begin this process. Just because you were positioned to intercede as a relative does not mean that you have the leg up over every other party who may be in the life of your child and grandchild.

What about the rights of foster parents?

If circumstances did not allow for you to be the source of temporary care for your grandparents during the beginning of a CPS case, then you may find that a foster family has been caring for your grandchildren. Many of us are familiar with negative news stories and, generally speaking, negative information about foster families. It is tricky for us to understand those foster families, typically speaking, have good intentions, and I only want what is best for children. However, we hear about negative stories associated with foster families in the news, which is why many of us hold negative views about foster care in general.

Many foster parents intend to adopt a child that they are caring for eventually. Bear in mind that we have no idea that your grandchild's foster family will want to adopt them. However, your child's foster parents often develop a close bond with them during the case and, therefore, will be interested in adoption as a result. This is a competing interest with you and your desire to be a managing conservator of your grandchildren.

From time to time, foster parents are confused as anyone about the intentions of Child Protective Services when it comes to a child they have been fostering. Many times a guardian ad litem, attorney ad litem, or even the grandparents can intervene in a case and disrupt what for them had been an excellent opportunity to become an adoptive parent. From the perspective of a foster family, frequently, we see that CPS may allow the child to return home under circumstances that are not good for that child. With this in mind, a CPS caseworker must understand that even foster families can proceed with representation in hopes of an adoptive family at some point.

What they should tell you about your situation is that you as a grandparent may find yourself with competing parties who believe they are well-positioned to take care of your grandchildren on a full-time basis after the completion of the CPS case. with that being said, I would recommend that you hire an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible once you begin to realize that your goal is to be named as primary conservator of your grandchildren.

It may not be an easy decision for you to decide that this is where you want to go with your case. The idea of working to terminate the parental rights of your child cannot be an easy moment for any parent. However, bearing in mind what is in your grandchild's best interests will keep you focused on the objectives of your case while keeping everything else there spent. Impacted, do not underestimate how important it will be for you to have the advice of an attorney who has been there before in guiding families just like yours.

No one expects you to go through a case like this alone. It can be challenging to shoulder the burdens of CPS cases of a grandparent alone. For that reason, I would recommend going through with a CPS case after examining all of the issues in the case and determining that you offer the best possible route towards your grandchild experiencing a fruitful childhood.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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