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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Grandparents' rights: Children of opioid users left vulnerable

The National Center on Adoption and Permanency reports that more and more children are put in the care of family members rather that foster parents. Reportedly, this trend is nationwide and includes Texas. In many of these cases, children are taken in by their grandparents because the parents develop dependencies on drugs or alcohol. However, without establishing legal custody of the children, they will have no grandparents' rights.

It is said that the national epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction leaves many children without proper care. Some children are then removed from the care of their parents by concerned family members. It is also not uncommon for parents to leave the kids with grandparents and not return. However, for grandparents to get custody of the children may not be easy, especially when more than one state is involved.

Problems arise when grandchildren have to be enrolled in schools, or when medical decisions must be made. Without legal custody, grandparents may not make these important decisions. Grandparents who take over the care of their grandchildren through the adoption system may find it easier to overcome these problems. According to census data, more than 2.5 million grandparents nationwide are their grandchildren's primary caregivers.

Texas families who are concerned about the welfare and safety of their grandchildren who are the victims of their parents' addictions to opioids and heroin may benefit from discussing the problem with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer will explain the applicable laws of the state and suggest the most appropriate remedy for the situation. The support and guidance through the legal process to obtain grandparents' rights may be invaluable.

Source:, "Opioid epidemic turns grandparents into primary caregivers", Emma Gallimore, Sept. 14, 2016

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