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When Kids Come Home With Kids, Part One

Modern society often involves three generations, and that requires flexible solutions, especially when small children, custody, visitation, and parentage issues are involved.

I know about this from a professional perspective as a family law attorney, and also from a personal perspective, as my wife and I took on raising infant grandsons.

Your first concern has to be the child or children, to make sure that they are cared for.  They will almost certainly be on some public assistance program, or they will be eligible for some program, that provides some level of medical care, even if they can’t get on your coverage.  There may be some cash grants available as well, and here’s where public assistance is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing because you are seldom going to get any financial help from the biological parents, and it’s a curse because some people will look at the children as an income stream, and make decisions based on that, rather than the benefit of the child.

Once you are sure the child is secure and safe, your next inquiry has to be, what’s the level of your authority?  In many cases, the grandparents are very little more than housekeepers and servants, because their children are in charge.  At the other end of the custody spectrum, the children could be placed with the grandparents by an agency like Child Protective Services, or through court action in a civil or juvenile court proceeding.

At the start, it is very difficult to decide where to go and what to do.  On the one hand, you have a lot of good life experience, and the best of intentions, and there’s an innocent little baby to think about.  On the other hand, if your child was good at putting your advice to work, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, would we?