Becoming a grandparent is joyous for most grandparents. Although they have raised their own children, grandparents continue to have a vested interest in what goes on in their grandchildren's lives. Often times, when there is a situation where children cannot stay with their parents, it is the grandparents who step in and care for the children, keeping them out of foster care and helping them retain a family connection.
However, as much as grandparents sacrifice and give in raising a family a second time, actually obtaining child custody of grandchildren in Texas is an uphill battle. This has been the case for a Cleveland woman living in Texas who has been trying to retain custody and support for her four grandchildren.
Unlike foster parents, grandparents do not receive any financial support in Texas for raising their grandchildren, and for this grandmother it meant pushing her and her grandchildren into poverty. In Texas, grandparents have to go through the same background checks as potential foster parents, but they do not have rights that easily allow them to move forward with adoption.
The grandmother is fed up and is leading the fight for grandparents' rights in Texas. She started the group, Kids Left Behind, which is raising awareness of the importance of grandparents' rights to foster care compensation and support as well as child custody. She will also be bringing her passionate fight to Washington, D.C., in order to further raise awareness of the family law trouble.
Grandparent custody generally holds an advantage over traditional foster care because grandparents usually do not need to learn to love these children. They already do. Plus, the children will often already have a relationship with their grandparents. Often, having a grandparent caretaker also means that siblings can stay together rather than go to separate foster homes. But, love and money are not the same thing, and grandparents deserve to have help when they need it in order to do what's best for their grandchildren.
The Dayton News: "Grandmother fights for relative rights for children," Jennifer Summer, Sep. 6, 2011