Negotiating Foster Care as a Grandparent

A recent study has shown that as many as 7.7 million children in the United States, about one in 10 kids, live in the same household as a grandparent. And in most of these cases, that means living in the home of the grandparent.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this phenomenon. With single parenting skyrocketing, an increasing number of grandparents are stepping in to help raise the kids. In many cases, this can involve foster caring for the beloved grandchild in question.

There are few grandparents who will turn their backs on their grandchildren, even if it means that they themselves will now live below the poverty line, as is the case with many foster-care grandparents. Grandparents offer a safety net, but how do you navigate the ups and downs and the bureaucracy of foster care as a grandparent?

You’ve got one thing going for you — you’re related. Foster-care agencies look kindly upon that. You will need to go through an application process that will include a home visit. You will be requested to provide numerous documents proving that you are healthy, responsible and who you say you are. You will need to provide references, and they will check your references. You will have a social worker assigned to you, and this person will help you through the process. It is useful to have the social worker on your side to help you navigate the system.

The home-study visit is to make sure your home is a safe place. You don’t need to scour everything from top to bottom. Depending on how your adult child’s child ended up in foster care, you will need to make agreements regarding when the child’s parent can or cannot see your grandchild. This may be difficult and emotional, but you will need to stand by what the agency has stipulated or you can lose your grandchild.

Avail yourself of the many support resources there are for grandchildren dealing with foster-care transitions. There are many such resources in your community. And get involved with a grandparents’ foster-care support group, because they will serve as a support system and resource throughout the process and help you understand that you are not alone. Of course, you’ll need to make time for all this, which can be a challenge in and of itself. Good luck!

Contact the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates

At the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates, we offer a free initial consultation in all family law matters, including issues relating to foster care with grandparents, divorce and other custody and support issues. Send us an e-mail or call our office at (972) 445-1500 or 972-445-1500 if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Or call us toll free at (877) 613-5800 for an appointment.

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