Grandparent Foster Care Can Be Preferred in an Emergency
When a parent or parents are unable to properly care for their child, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) may intervene. Specifically, when the DHS Child Protective Services (CPS) unit identifies a deprived child, CPS can take custody of the child from the parents – either temporarily or permanently.
When the State takes custody of a child, CPS must find an appropriate placement, such as a foster home, for the deprived child. Foster care is not legal custody, but it is a temporary placement for the child until CPS restores custody rights back to the parents or someone legally adopts the child.
If you are the grandparent of a neglected or abused child, it can be painful to watch the child be removed from their home and placed with strangers as foster parents. You may wonder whether you can care for the child instead. The good news is that, in many cases, this may be a possible arrangement. You should consult with an experienced Oklahoma grandparents’ rights attorney about your options as soon as possible.
Grandparents as Foster Parents in Oklahoma
Grandparents cannot simply make the decision to take their grandchildren away from their parents. Instead, they need to follow the proper procedures to officially be named foster parents of their grandchildren by Oklahoma DHS.
In Oklahoma, the law states a preference for placing children with family members who are willing, capable, and suitable caretakers for the child. Despite a familial relation, the placement must also meet specific conditions. For grandparents to become foster parents to grandchildren in Oklahoma:
- It must meet the needs of the foster child
- It must support a permanency plan for the child and their family
- It must be in the best interests of the child
- It is in line with the standard of care of a prudent and reasonable foster parent
- It encourages the developmental and emotional growth of the child, such as determining the proper extracurricular, social, cultural, and enrichment activities
As long as DHS finds that the grandparents’ home meets all of the above criteria, it will likely find that grandparent foster care is a better option for the child than visitation with grandparents while placed in a stranger’s home for foster care.
Grandchild Foster Placement
The law addresses many aspects of grandparent foster care of a grandchild, including the following:
- Children are best served by placement with grandparents or close relatives than with strangers
- Oklahoma DHS should recognize such familial relationships and placement opportunities when they identify a deprived child
- Most children placed with grandparents do not need the same type of intensive supervision by DHS or the courts as they would need when placed with strangers
- Grandparent placement allows DHS to dedicate resources to other children who may need it more due to placement outside their immediate family
- Grandparents do not need foster parent certification but only must show they can provide a supportive, stable, and safe home for the child
- Grandparents may request additional support for the child, including financial assistance, subsidized school or child care, transportation, respite care, counseling, help obtaining child support payments from parents, aid with public benefits, and other caregiver support
An experienced grandparents’ rights law firm can help you get all the support and services you need as a foster parent.
Possible Grandparent Adoption
If a court holds a permanency hearing and decides that a child will be eligible for adoption, foster parents have the opportunity to prove eligibility to adopt if they so wish. The same goes for grandparents who are serving as foster parents. To determine whether grandparents should adopt the child, the court considers numerous factors, such as:
- Love and affection between the child and the grandparents
- Whether the home was stable and supportive
- Whether the child wants to continue living in the grandparents’ home
- The physical and mental health of the grandparents
- The best interests of the child
- Other factors relevant to the situation
If you want to try to adopt your grandchild, you should seek the help of a committed attorney who represents grandparents in Oklahoma as soon as you can.
Consult an Oklahoma Attorney for Grandparents’ Rights
If you believe your grandchildren may be taken from their parents by DHS, it can be a difficult time for your family. However, you do not have to lose your relationship with your grandchildren in this situation. Often, you can stand up and fight to serve as the foster home for your grandchildren so you know they will be loved and well cared for. If DHS terminates the parental rights, you may explore the option of legally adopting your grandchildren to make sure they will have a stable home and will not live in fear of being deprived or displaced in the future.
Becoming a foster parent to your grandchild or to adopt a grandchild in Oklahoma is not always a simple process, and you must comply with state law and requirements. It is critical that you have the right lawyer handling your case to ensure you do not unnecessarily lose the opportunity to provide a loving home for your grandchildren. Contact an Oklahoma grandparents’ rights lawyer at Wirth Law Office for a no-obligation consultation today. Call (918) 879-1681 or send your inquiry using the contact form on this page.