Heroin, opioid and opiate abuse is becoming a national epidemic. Meth and other substances, including alcohol, can also cause all kinds of medical and social issues for those with dependence on them. Families get torn apart when a parent or an older child ends up with an addiction. As a parent, the last thing you ever want to see is your child struggling with a potentially deadly problem. As a grandparent, however, you also need to put the needs of the youngest and most vulnerable people in your family first.
Addiction can keep a parent from performing even the most basic duties for the care of their children. Depending on the age and the specific needs of your grandchildren, an incapacitated parent who is high could put their lives in risk. Children may not have the ability to feed or clean themselves or address any emergency situations that could arise, such as a fire. If you have reached a point where you fear for the safety of your grandchildren, you may need to seek custody of them.
Texas can terminate parental custody and award it to others
Certain situations will involve the criminal courts and the Department of Family and Protective Services. Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) can visit a home and interview parents to determine if the home is unsafe or the parents are negligent or abusive. If there is reason for concern about the immediate safety of the child, CPS may remove the children from custody of their parents. At the time, the state will seek to place the children in foster care.
If you intend to seek custody of your grandchildren, you can take steps to become certified as a foster parent ahead of time. In emergency removals, however, the state may agree to conduct a home visit to determine that your home is safe and place the children with you, pending any necessary paperwork and educational programs. Texas prefers to place children with relatives, if possible, instead of with strangers in foster care or a group home. In some cases, the state may decide to terminate parental rights and name you the legal parent of your grandchildren.
Custody is easier to obtain if grandchildren already live with you
Sometimes, parents leave children with grandparents. It could have been a work-related trip or a personal disaster. In time, however, it has become obvious that the parents aren't coming back for your grandchildren.
You have the right in that situation to seek custody of your grandchildren if they live with you. You can even pursue child support from both biological parents to cover living expenses, if need be. After all, the parents of your grandchildren have a legal obligation to those kids, and you will likely incur substantial expenses in the process of raising them. However, the stress of obtaining custody will probably end up rewarded with the joy of watching those children flourish and grow.