Grandparents in Texas seeking greater legal protections

Here in Texas, it is not uncommon to see many different types of family arrangements, meaning the traditional definition of family – husband, wife and 2-3 kids – is no longer necessarily the norm. For example, single parent homes have steadily increased over the last several decades, while many grandparents have stepped forward to adopt/assume custody of grandchildren. In fact, three percent of all children in the state of Texas are currently being raised by their grandparents.

Interestingly, many adoptive grandparents or potential adoptive grandparents here in Texas are currently voicing their frustrations over what they perceive to be a lack of rights/legal protections when it comes to adopting or securing custody of their grandchildren.

Specifically, many of these seniors are becoming frustrated with the following issues:

  • The amount of time it takes for Child Protective Services (CPS) to initiate an investigation into unfit parenting
  • The lack of rights/options as compared with foster parents
  • The lack of financial support by the child’s parents/the state of Texas

Now, it appears that these grandparents are organizing their own voice to be heard both here in Texas, and in our nation’s capital.

“There are a lot of grandparents in Texas who do not know that we have no rights,” said Linda Boles, founder of the advocacy group Kids Left Behind, which fights for grandparents’ rights. “In 2008, I spoke in Washington D.C. on the fact there is no funding from the state for grandparents to care for their grandchildren. They are not told from the beginning what they can have and what they cannot.”

For Boles, who now has custody of her four grandchildren, the process of adoption/securing custody proved to be something of a nightmare. She not only had to endure 29 voluntary placements of her grandchildren by CPS, but was also forced to wage a lengthy legal battle that ultimately cost her her real estate job.

She currently receives no financial support from the state and raises her grandchildren on 53 cents a day.

“I cannot understand why Texas does not want to help with all these children. If they are put in a relative caregiver’s home, they have a better chance at succeeding than in a foster home,” she said. “I have lost everything, but that is the love I have for these grandchildren; I would never give that up.”

Interestingly, one of the biggest areas identified by Boles for improvement was the inconsistencies between the treatment of foster parents and grandparents. Specifically, the fact that grandparents receive neither financial reimbursement nor adoption rights while foster parents receive both is a major point of contention.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody, visitation, grandparents’ rights or adoption, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

The Dayton News “Grandmother fights for relative rights for children” Sept. 6, 2011