Families in Texas come in all shapes and sizes. Many family units involve a child living with both of their biological parents, but there are infinite variations on that theme. Parents die, get divorced, go to jail and develop serious health conditions. Sometimes, children can’t stay at home anymore.
Whether the cause is state intervention because Child Protective Services (CPS) has removed the children from the house or a parent recognizes that they can no longer fulfill obligations to the children, grandparents may choose to step up into the role of kinship care provider.
What are some of the most common reasons that grandparents assume the role of primary caregiver for their children’s children?
When only one parent plays a role in the lives of the kids or both parents get caught up in the same enforcement effort, the incarceration of one or both parents can lead to children needing to be placed with someone else.
Physical or mental health issues
A parent with sole custody who developed cancer and has to have inpatient chemotherapy treatment will need long-term support with meeting the needs of their children. The same is true for married parents who both become hospitalized after a car crash.
Mental health issues ranging from bipolar disorder to severe depression could also limit a parent’s ability to provide for the needs of children. When a parent’s health issues stop them from taking care of their kids, kinship care can give the kids a sense of support from within their family.
Addiction, abuse or neglect
Mental health issues don’t always lead to hospitalization. Sometimes they lead to inappropriately aggressive behavior, manipulative parenting tactics, the parentification of minor children or chronic neglect by a caregiver who doesn’t recognize their own limitations.
When someone has an addiction, engages in abusive behavior or simply neglects their children, the state may eventually intervene. CPS might pull the children out of the home until the parents improve their situation or parenting skills. In such situations, they usually prioritize placing the children with family members whenever possible.
Kinship care gives children in a difficult situation a sense of family and consistency. It can also help you remain involved in their lives, which may not be as easy as they go into foster placement or state care. Asserting your right for foster placement if the state removes your grandchildren from the home temporarily or pursuing a grandparent adoption when your child won’t be able to resume their parental responsibilities can benefit both you and your grandchildren.