It Is Possible For Grandparents To Become Foster Parents
Video Transcribed: What can grandparents do in Oklahoma when their grandchild is in state custody? Hi, I’m Oklahoma Grandparents Rights Attorney Justin Mosteller, with the Wirth Law Office, and I’m going to answer that question for you today.
Now when the state steps in and takes custody of a child, the state files what’s called a deprived petition alleging that the child is in a deprived situation due to the actions or inaction of the parents. Now in those situations, by law, the state of Oklahoma is required to try and do what is called a kinship placement for the child. That means that the child, if it’s possible, should be placed with a family member.
Also, Oklahoma law establishes an order of preference that the state should follow when they’re making those placement decisions and grandparents are right below parents under Title 43. So the first step here is to try to get placement of the grandchild with the grandparents as a foster option. Grandparents who are in that situation should be aware that their backgrounds will be heavily researched by the state, and if there are any DHS interactions with the grandparents that predate the deprived case, it’s likely that a grandparent might be excluded as a possible placement.
In that event you should maintain relationships with the parent’s child, and make for sure that you’re available and aware of what’s going on in the case so that you might be able to take actions later if they’re necessary. But in the meantime, there’s not much that you can do. Now, if you have placement of the grandchild with the grandparent during the deprived case, the grandparents
should do everything possible to cooperate with DHS, make for sure you’re following through on what they’re telling you to do, and making for sure that your focus remains on facilitating the rehabilitation of the parents. Foster placements are meant to be temporary.
Now, if the state decides that they will terminate the rights of one or both parent, that may require an adoption of the child. And in that situation, if you have placement of the child with the grandparent already, it becomes easier for that grandparent to file for an adoption.
Now in an adoption situation, you need to understand that you should prioritize these grandkids over your own kids, because your own kids have created the situation that resulted in the state stepping in, and the state is going to be very interested in protecting those kids from their parents. And the grandparents need to be willing to do that, and that can be difficult.
So if you find yourself in a situation where your grandchild is in state custody and you believe that you could use the help of an attorney, reach out to us at the Wirth Law Office. You can find us at 918-932-2800.