When Children’s Protective Services (CPS) seeks to remove children from their parents for abuse or neglect, its caseworkers have a duty to seek placement of the child(ren) with a
relative of either the mother or the father. Often, it is the
grandparents who are in the best position to seek placement and to provide for the care of the child(ren).
The courts are required to provide the parents of any child CPS removes with a hearing to determine whether the removal was warranted. The hearing must be held within 14 days of the child’s removal. This hearing is also when the court will decide where the child(ren) will reside while the case is pending, which could be up to 18 months. Because of this short deadline for the hearing, it is very important for grandparents who want their grandchildren to be placed with them to consult and hire counsel very quickly once the child has been removed.
Depending on the alleged conduct of the parents that necessitated the removal and the feelings of the grandparent towards the parent, there are two options that can be pursued. First, if a grandparent wants to support their child in trying to eventually regain custody of the grandchildren, they can seek placement of the child(ren) without actually filing their own suit. This option allows the grandparent step in and keep the child(ren) out of foster care, while still being able to testify in favor of the parent.
The second option requires the grandparent to file their own lawsuit, called an intervention, seeking legal custody of the grandchild(ren), instead of just a temporary placement. If a suit of this nature is filed, the grandparent must allege that if the child(ren) was returned to either parent that their health or emotional development would be significantly impaired. By filing a lawsuit, the grandparent then gets a voice in the lawsuit and courtroom they would not have otherwise.
If your grandchildren have been removed from their parents by CPS, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. It is also important that the attorney you hire is skilled and trained in handling CPS cases.
I specialize in representing grandparents, and can help you in getting your grandchild(ren) out of foster care and returned to live with their family. Please contact me via my website or by phone 281-476-9447, if you need help.