Grandparents fulfill an important social role for their grandchildren. Sometimes, they act as secondary parental figures. Other times they are a source of emotional support and financial resources for a child with parents who are spread too soon.
Grandparents can also fulfill more intensive roles in the lives of children whose parents have real struggles. Substance abuse, criminal incarceration and health issues, including mental health issues, can all leave parents unable to properly take care of their children. Grandparents can provide stability and even housing when parents are unable to do so.
Although you may step up to try to help when your child struggles to parent, the state might eventually feel the need to intervene. If your child loses custody because the state terminates their parental rights, you will be in an awkward position where you cannot spend time with your grandchild anymore. Do you have the right to seek visitation when your child no longer has parental rights?
State involvement can affect the whole family
The unfortunate truth for grandparents worried about their grandchildren because the state has terminated the parents’ rights is that such legal action typically severs the relationship of all other family members, including grandparents, uncles, and aunts.
While you can sometimes ask for visitation when your grandchildren aren’t living with their parents or when the parents go through a messy divorce, California does not offer very much support for grandparents worried about their grandchildren when the state has terminated the parent-child relationship.
How can you protect your grandchildren if your child is no longer a parent?
If you can’t ask for visitation so that you can at least see your grandchildren and continue providing emotional support to them, how can you help them through this difficult time? Your best option may be to look into stepping up into a guardianship role or talking with the state about the possibility of adopting your grandchildren.
You may be able to protect your rights by becoming more involved with your grandchildren instead of letting go because the state has intervened. Learning more about grandparent rights, including the possibility of adoption, can help you support your grandchildren during a difficult time for your family.