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More grandparents acting as foster parents to related children

A growing number of grandparents are making the decision to become foster parents of grandchildren removed from the birth parents by Child Protective Services. Grandparents' rights in Texas allow them to potentially become certified as foster parents for children related to them. Such laws allow grandparents to receive CPS support like monthly support payments, health services, and other need-based programs. Child protective workers are hailing the program as a way to take some of the burden off other, traditional foster care programs. These benefits are awarded until the child turns 18.

In Texas, around 213,000 children are supported by their grandparents rather than their parents, and even some great-grandparents are beginning to participate in the program.

Child Protective Services will almost always go to the family of a child before placing it up for adoption or assigning it to a traditional foster home. Beyond grandparents, children are often placed in homes run by the birth parents' siblings, or even the child's siblings if they are deemed responsible enough for such a responsibility. In fact, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 requires that all family members be notified within 30 days of a child's removal from parental custody.

Some CPS workers are hesitant to place children with their grandparents if they were removed from an abusive or hostile home - as placement with grandparents can potentially mean more contact with the birth parents. Workers carefully assess the danger on a case-by-case basis. The system helps children in need and allows grandparents to take full responsibility for the children they love.

Source: TimesRecordNews, "Truly grand parents," Judith McGinnis, Sept. 24, 2011

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