When a grandparent has a child in DCF Foster Care, it is important to make every attempt as early as possible to get the child out. Do everything humanly possible you can do to get the child placed with you. DCF will check your backgrounds such as whether you have had a criminal record or any DCF involvement. If DCF declines you as an applicant to be a foster care parent, you can then try to appeal this determination. The Grandparent still can approach the court as a potential placement resource. When the grandparents are not allowed to be a placement resource then seek out the best family member or family friend who has neither a criminal record or any DCF involvement. This person should have adequate space for the child and the ability to raise the child properly on a temporary basis.
When the child is in a kinship placement there are numerous advantages to this arrangement. The first and most important is that “no one takes better care of their own, than their own”. Other advantages include throne year time frame for DCF to seek a permanent plan for the child may be eliminated.
The threat of losing the child during a possible adoption outside the family is lessened. When the child is with a relative and/or a family friend the important bond through visitation can be easily facilitated. Sometimes visitation occurs only once a week with a child in foster care. This visitation between the child and parent may only occur for an hour, supervised at a DCF office. This is not the most optimal location or conditions for a visit to occur for the child, parent or DCF workers.
The child being with a grandparent, family member or friend can make it an easier path to unsupervised visitation. The increased visitation being unsupervised can then lead to ultimately overnights and custody to their unification with the parents. Grandparents should understand that it is important to act fast with DCF. When a child is adopted this child may never see their loving grandparents again. This should be a major incentive to moving with lighting speed to get your grandchild out of the DCF Foster Care system.
Grandparents ran into a problem that they waited too long to get their grandchild out of foster care. DCF told the grandparents That the goal was “reunification” with the parents. The Grandparents agreed with the DCF goal of reunification. The grandparents did not take steps to get their grandchild out of foster care. The grandparents were under the mistaken belief that the child would go from foster care back to his parents shortly. Based on this erroneous belief the grandparents took no action and sat back and let the case unfold.
What the grandparents failed to understand is that within one-year DCF must tell the courts when the child is in foster care about a permanent plan for the child. The parents failed to make substantial progress to reunite with the child which was no fault of the grandparents. DCF then changed the goal from reunification to adoption. The grandparents were caught completely off guard.
The goal of adoption by the foster parent was a complete shock to the grandparents. The child had been with the foster parents for over a year. According to DCF, the child had “bonded” with the foster parents. The grandparents were horrified at the prospect of not seeing the child after the adoption with the foster parents. The grandparents in good faith waited for the reunification that never came. The grandparents due to visiting the child monthly did get an open adoption to visit with the grandchild but this was after much hassle with DCF. The grandparents wanted to adopt the grandchild but did not take a more active role to accomplish this.
When your child is in DCF Foster Care take immediate steps to change this equation even if the goal is reunification. This will help to protect the child form being adoptive by a person outside the family and allow the grandparents to be a real factor in their grandchild’s life. The grandparents then frantically filled out many different forms of paperwork for kinship, custody, guardianship, etc. The grandparents continuously tried to get the grandchild placed with them once the goal by DCF had changed. DCF said it was “too late”. The grandparents were beyond upset, furious, and frustrated with this whole DCF “nightmare”. Do not allow this to happen to you us a grandparent. There are logical steps grandparents should take.
Whenever DCF takes custody of your grandchild do everything possible to have the child from the get-go placed with you. If for whatever reason you are declined by DCF then swiftly change directions and get your grandchild placed with another family or friend. Do NOT sit back and wait for the parents to reunify with their child. This, unfortunately, may not happen. Guard against this by being aggressive, proactive and relentless in your quest for your grandchild.