Being a grandparent is an extraordinary and wonderful thing. Many grandparents are close to their grandchildren and some also act in a more parental role. I was fortunate to have grandparents who were always there for me and my brothers and cousins if we needed them. I see the same in my practice. Grandparents often can step up if their grandchildren need to be taken out of their parents' care. This can be done in juvenile court, probate court or family court proceedings.
Placement Resources in Child Protection (DCF) Proceedings
When it removes a child from his or her parents, DCF (Department of Children and Families) is supposed to look for relatives before placing the child with non-relative foster parents. Grandparents can take the children under informal family arrangements or as foster parents. Sometimes grandparents are overlooked, not known or just not acceptable to DCF. In these cases, grandparents should seek legal counsel to deal with DCF.
Motions To Intervene
Grandparents and other blood relatives (e.g. aunts, uncles, cousins, older brothers and sisters) can be more than just foster parents in child protection (neglect, abuse, termination) proceedings. They can become actual parties to the cases through motions to intervene. In that capacity they can file motions (such as a motion to transfer guardianship) and and respond and participate in case events. Intervention is sometimes necessary if the grandparents or other relatives are not being brought into or otherwise have their interests represented adequately in court. These motions are difficult and are subject to strict time requirements. It is advisable to hire an attorney.
Motions to Remove Guardianship and Temporary Custody
When blood relatives believe that a child (grandchild, niece/nephew, etc.) is in danger from his or her parents but DCF has not yet become involved, they can initiate actions in probate court to remove the parent (or other legal guardian) as guardian and also move to seek temporary custody of the child while that action is pending.