Grandparents as foster parents in Oklahoma can happen under certain circumstances and if they follow all required procedures. In certain circumstances, grandparents can be the best option to care for their grandchildren. Most children have a positive relationship with their grandparents. Grandparent fostering can lead to less upheaval, anxiety, and depression in a grandchild’s life. If you are a grandparent and are looking at this possibility, here are some things that you may want to know.
Extended Family Are Often Preferred As Caregivers When A Child Needs Help
There are situations in which Oklahoma’s Child Protective Services (CPS) unit removes a child from the family home after conducting an investigation into the matter. In order to be removed from the home, a child must be considered to be a “deprived child” under Oklahoma law. The removal is meant to protect a child who has been identified as either abused or neglected.
Sometimes, the removal is temporary. Other times, it is permanent. The state takes custody of the child.
Foster Care: An Immediate Solution
Once a child is removed from the family home, the child must be placed in another living situation. Even though removal may be in the child’s best interests, it is traumatizing for the child. Often, being placed with an extended family member such as the grandparents can make the situation much easier for the child.
Foster Parenting Is Not Custody
It is important to know that foster care is meant as a temporary living arrangement. The state continues to retain custody of the child until the home situation can be rectified or until the state moves to terminate parental rights. If parental rights are terminated, the child can be legally adopted. Foster care may be a stepping stone to the later adoption of a grandchild.
If this is a situation unfolding in your family, you may have questions about whether you can be appointed as your grandchild’s foster parent. Bring your questions to an experienced Muskogee attorney as soon as possible. You and your attorney can help determine the best way to move forward, so your grandchild can be best cared for.
Appointing Grandparents As Foster Parents In Oklahoma
Once a child is removed by DHS, the child will usually be placed in an emergency foster situation until a more permanent foster placement can be arranged. All foster parents go through a vetting process during which they are carefully screened and investigated.
If a grandparent wants to foster a grandchild, the grandparent must go through that process. Oklahoma law states a preference for placing children with family members who are willing, capable, and suitable caretakers for the child.
To determine whether a grandparent is suitable as a foster parent, the grandparent must meet specific conditions. Grandparents may become foster parents to grandchildren in Oklahoma when it:
- meets the child’s needs;
- supports the court-ordered permanency plan for the child and family;
- is in the child’s best interests;
- is in line with the standard of care of a prudent and reasonable foster parent; and
- encourages the developmental and emotional growth of the child.
Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services will actually search for relatives and contact them first to see if they are able to take care of the child or children involved. If a relative such as a grandparent takes the child in as a foster parent, the grandparents must keep DHS apprised of their current address.
In 2007, Oklahoma shifted its focus toward practices that help preserve and reunify families. Therefore, it is important that a foster grandparent support the reunification plan. When reunification is not possible, a grandparent, especially one who has been acting as the child’s foster parent, may be eligible to adopt the child. Okla. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-4-812
Grandchild Foster Placement
Oklahoma law believes that children are best served by placement with grandparents or close relatives than with strangers when placement is needed. In many instances, children placed with grandparents need less intensive DHS supervision than they would when placed with strangers.
Grandparents do not need foster parent certification, but only must show they can provide a supportive, stable, and safe home for the child. Grandparents can also request help and support to foster their grandchild. This may include:
- financial assistance;
- subsidized school or day care;
- respite care;
- child support payments from parents; and
- public benefits.
An experienced family law attorney in Muskogee can help with the transition to foster care and in getting the needed support services.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Child Custody Attorney
When you decide to get a divorce and have children, you may feel nervous about your child custody options. However, an experienced Muskogee child custody attorney can help bring relief.
A no-cost initial consultation can help you decide whether Wirth Law Office – Muskogee can provide the best Muskogee child custody attorney for your family law matter. Call us today at 918-884-7774.