Going after custody

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dlgallant, Sep 9, 2008.

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  1. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    Just need encouragement and any advice anyone has. My grand-daughter was diagnosed with a neurological condition that could be life long and debilitating, but difficult child is oblivious to the seriousness. difficult child is currently living with one man (who beats her) is trying to get one ex-boyfriend to take her back (alcoholic / addict) and has yet another young man (thief recently released from jail) she keeps telling she loves him and wants to move in with him. And if that's enough men to try and juggle, she contacted Samantha's father and told him she still loves him, but stopped short of telling him he's Samantha's father. She left him last year because she had the sense to know pregnancy and beatings don't go together. I've already accepted my beautiful daughter is gone, but I feel I have to at least make an attempt to try and save my grand-baby. Unfortunately, in KY there is little hope I will be successful.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Is the baby still with you? I think that was the case last we had heard from you. Do you have an attorney?

    If you are worried for the child's safety, you should contact DCFS. They will probably want to interview you as custodians/legal guardians if they find that your daughter is not taking care of your grandchild.

    Good luck with this. It's definitely a difficult thing.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Difficult unless you can prove neglegence, endangerment, or abuse. However your grandchild's diagnosis also gives you another angle to pursue........medical negligence. And in most places cps will hop onto this faster than any of the others.

    Forgive me, but I don't know the history. Is baby with you or Mom? If she's with you.....you'll stand a better chance. (I think) Any way you could convince Mom to make you gaurdian? Might be worth a shot.

    Sorry. Wish I could be of more help.

  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    No experience with this, but wanted to send hugs and lots of luck.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gosh I am so sorry. Grandparents have next to no rights these days. It seems that parents can do almost anything to the poor kids and us grands have to stand by and watch helplessly.

    If you can get her to give you temporary custody or guardianship either by trick or blackmail....well...maybe that would be the ticket. Offer her something she really wants.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I happen to have some experience with this, and unless its changed in the past few years, in the great state of KY, if the child has lived with you for a certain period of time, you have equal grounds to seek custody of that child as the child's parents.

    Some of the others are eluding to the fact that you have had your grandbaby living with you at one time - if that's the case, you should have a case.

    Make sure your attorney digs into this.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Shari, you make a good point. DL may have some rights that go along with keeping the baby for a time. It's been a long time since she has written, though, and I think the last time was that the daughter had given a difficult birth and was on bed rest living at her home with the granddaughter. At that point her difficult child was looking for a way out of the house, and then we didn't hear for a while. I don't remember ever hearing either way whether difficult child left the baby alone with her for a period of time. I think that would have to be the standard - did difficult child leave the baby with grandma to raise?

    Grandparental rights are tricky, to be sure. I hope that DL will be able to get some help for the baby, at least.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The law varies so much from place to place and custody is an intimidating word. I do not know your circumstances so what I did may not be at all applicable to you. This is, however, what I did.

    My daughter would "never" give up "her" chidlren. Meanwhile I have had easy child/difficult child for 21 years and teenage difficult child the past eight years in a row and a
    year or two before that. How did I do it?

    I told my daughter that I knew how hard she tried to provide a secure home and how difficult it was to work and take care of the childrens needs...especially money and stability. I stressed that it was important
    that "someone" be authorized to take care of their complicated medical and schoolwork needs and since she was so busy I would be best.

    Then I had an attorney draw up a Durable Power of Attorney that gives
    me permission to make all school, medical etc. choices for her sons. I paid
    her to go to the attorney to sign in front of their notaries. I asked her to
    give us "part" of the child support/etc. that she received.

    Long story short. I was able to protect the children, do all the stuff that is "not fun" so she could play, and she still is "Mommy" and has all the $$s
    to prove it. It has NOT been easy. It is a lifelong commitment. Our way
    kept it out of the courts and served the purpose. I have not done this for
    her daughter..she is "in charge" of her and rues the stressfulness of being the fulltime parent. Geez! DDD
  9. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    3D---that's exactly the way my grandparents handled it when they took me in at 8. The had power of attorney. No termination of rights. My mom and dad were always a part of my life. They just weren't my parents.
  10. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    My wife and I have custody -- guardianship, actually -- of our granddaughter but I don't know what advice to give. Our granddaughter lived with us from the start and difficult child did not try to contest the guardianship order.

    Just wanted to offer support and understanding.
  11. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    Thanks for all the responses. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond back. difficult child and baby lived with me for only 5 weeks before she walked out with just a diaper bag. She's been in various degrees of bad situations in the last 5 months. Mom and baby were diagnosed with scabbies, and mom refused treatment. DHS is OK with that. My daughter has been beaten by boyfriends multiple times that I've seen her over the last few monts, again DHS is OK with that as well. difficult child has been in various degrees of delusional thinking, but again, DHS is OK with that as well. My grand-daughter was born with an extremely weak neck, but the doctors at first were not concerned because she was premature. Now the baby's head constantly tilts to the side. Several people reported to DHS that difficult child thought it was funny to watch the baby's head bobble around and would bounce her on her knee for entertainment. I don't believe my daughter would intentionally hurt her daughter, and I'm sure had no idea the danger of this. They can't definitively tie the incidents to the nerve damange in the baby's neck. The doctor said either could be congenital or from an injury. So DHS says that is still not enough. I have little hope of success, but I feel I have to try. The last several days difficult child seems like she's coming out of her pretend world. There are far less make believe incidences, she's been holding a job for several weeks, she even asked for help finding a counselor. She doesn't know about my intent for custody, so it's not a response to that.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    ((hugs)) dlgallant. That is so hard to have to stand by and watch. been there done that (hope never to have to again)

    Any way you could get sneaky and convince difficult child to give you guardianship, even temporarily? That would at least allow you to protect the baby until Mom gets stable. Maybe do the poor single Mom thing.......You look so very tired.......Oh, heck. I hate to see innocent little ones caught up in dangerous situations and cps can't open their eyes and see it for what it is. grrrrrrrr :mad::angry-very:

    I will not get on my soapbox........I will not get on my soapbox.......
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    If your granddaughter lived in your home with your daughter, you have no legal history of custody to back you up.

    Well, I'm going to pick this apart, because you seem to have made some generalizations that may not be accurate. I am not addressing whether or not these policies are right or fair. It's what the law is. But I'll preface it by saying that if it were my daughter and grandchild, I'd want the child to be somewhere else that is safe and loving, as well.

    I'm not sure why DHS wouldn't care about scabies. I suspect she told them that she would get it treated and did not follow through.

    Your daughter could be beaten daily by boyfriends and so long as it wasn't in the presence of the baby, DHS wouldn't care. That is not directly connected to how your daughter raises her child. You can say all you want that it was in front of the baby, but if there is no witness other than them, and the police aren't called at the time of the assault to see that the assault is ongoing at the time and that the child is there, it's not a parenting issue.

    I'm sure that saying that a mother bouncing a baby on the knee doesn't sound all that awful unless DHS has documented proof that in this case it would be dangerous for the baby. Having a wobbly neck doesn't make it dangerous. Bouncing may strengthen the neck. She may have told them that. There would need to be a report by a medical professional for them to look at that as some sort of abuse.

    The reason I am pointing these things out is that unless you have something strong that you can back up with legal and medical proof, I would refrain from making reports. They will view them as "unfounded reports" which only serves to make you appear to be making reports out of malice towards your daughter, not out of concern for your granddaughter. If you want to try for custody, you have to be sure that they will get no hint that it has anything to do with anything other than an altruistic attitude for your granddaughter.

    It's not that it's OK with DHS. You just haven't made your case. I believe I said earlier to call DHS on your daughter. I would revise that to say "Call DHS on your daughter if you have proof that she is neglecting or abusing her daughter." And in the meantime, contact an attorney. Definitely try the "poor single mom, you need help with these confusing decisions" on her as Daisy and others have recommended. You never know, she may respond to a money incentive, as DDDs daughter did.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  14. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    I never said the 5 weeks my granddaughter lived with was any basis for custody. I was simply answering a question. I believe I said upfront, I knew I had little chance of success. I also never presented every ounce of evidence I have, as that would take pages, and I'm sure everyone does not want to know every little detail. I just simply wanted some encouragement, and possibly pointers from anyone who has been in this position. I think DHS saying, "come back when there's a dead body" is reason to be concerned. Why would they not be concerned about scabbies? Well, maybe because the baby was crying constantly from discomfort from a mom who refused treatment????? Why would they be concerned about a mom bouncing a baby for entertainment in watching the head bounce around? Maybe shaken baby syndrome? The baby now has possible permenant nerve damage, and there's no way to proof it's origin, but the doctor says being shaken (or bounced) is a possibility. And my daughter never sought treatment even though the baby's head just falls to her shoulder! I'm not talking about making any reports to DHS, I know it's pointless. Too many children have been buried in that county that DHS did not have the time or inclination to deal with. I planned on going after custody. I realize that many kids are raised around drug dealers, prostitutes and theives, watch their mothers being beaten, and go without medical care. But I have no intention on waiting until something more serious happens either. The systems is also set up if you don't make some kind of documentation, it either didn't exist, or you really didn't care enough to report it when it happened.

    Anyway, difficult child seems to be now showing signs of returning to reality, so I'm not going to jeapordize that and hope I can coax her back to reality.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, did I say something that offended you? You seem very upset, and I'm not sure what I could have said that was any different that anything anyone else said. As to whether your granddaughter lived alone with you for any period of time, several people pointed out that you might have a better chance of getting custody. I was just making a comment in reply to their statements and questions. I know you are upset about this situation, but the best thing you can do is to keep your cool. To overstate things will not help you in this, and it very definitely can hurt you and keep your granddaughter from getting the help that she needs. Saying that DHS won't become involved until the baby is dead is simply not true. In reality, not only would custody very difficult to get, visitation can be impossible if your daughter doesn't allow it. You need to make sure that anyone you speak to about this sees you as only reporting to them what you can verify, and never calling their veracity into question.

    The doctor is a mandatory reporter, and if there are medical problems with the baby, they are obligated to tell the authorities. The doctor is not obligated to release information to you. You may release information to the doctor. But be aware that the doctor will tell your daughter what you said. Also be aware that the doctor and DHS and the police and any other agency that you may want to involve will listen more closely if you approach them calmly and don't make broad generalizations that you can't support with fact. And yes, they will look at the piles of documents you have relating to your granddaughter. They won't give a rip about any information that you have on your daughter. Her problems don't make her incapable of being a good parent. If you are not willing to make a report to DHS, there is really nothing you can do about this situation. They are the ruling entity in this.

    These are all very valid pointers from someone who has a great deal of information to share with you. I'm sorry if you took offense. I thought you wanted answers.
  16. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    Answers? I asked for and welcome any and all suggestions.

    I am frustrated with a response built on assumptions with no factual or logical basis. As a certified family and child permanency mediator, I am well versed in Kentucky's family court statutes. My expertise in this area provided the foundation for my premise that there was indeed minimal expectation that I, as the grandparent, would prevail in a custody hearing. Additionally, my experience with various DHS employees representing multiple counties provides me with insights as to the strengths and weaknesses of the various offices. Unfortunately, my daughter lived in my home and making her aware, which counties are safe for her to seek refuge from government intervention. It is often a long and difficult road in various locations in KY to achieve justice, especially in the arena of family law. After 15 years of litigation, and four courts, my child support case finally reached the KY appellate court where I was able to outline a precedent setting case limiting the abuse of power by family court judges.

    I made no assertions regarding my filing any reports to DHS. DHS repeatedly contacts me in attempts to locate my daughter and repeatedly states they will not accept information or documentation from me beyond assisting in the location of my daughter. Several DHS representatives echo variations of the theme that law mandates an attempt to follow up on reports however; they have no intention to intervene 'unless there's a dead body.' The sheriff's office, a judge, a registered nurse, and various good Samaritans that provided refuge for my daughter provide report after report to DHS.

    Documentation was presented in my daughter's criminal case overwhelmingly convincing the presiding judge that my daughter is severely emotionally disturbed the baby in possible danger. This resulted in a referral to DHS. DHS is governed on a county-by-county basis. My daughter relocated to a safer jurisdiction. In no way am I stating that all DHS departments are corrupt or incompetent. Unfortunately, it only takes the one where a child is residing to become a problem. It is presumptuous and condescending to state that DHS DOES care and that I HAVE NOT made my case.

    Custody without DHS support is extremely difficult. Despite this I made the decision to attempt to seek custody in a court room hoping for 1) the opportunity to at least present evidence or 2) (and most preferably) that my daughter would be pressured to provide a safer environment for her daughter.

    Alyssa is currently showing signs of surfacing from this episode of dissociative thinking. It will take significant counseling to overcome her mental health issues, however if I can nurture and coax her into providing a safer environment for herself and her daughter, everyone would benefit.
  17. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Sorry, thought you said

    I guess I misunderstood what you meant by that. Given your statement now, I understand it even less. Are you saying you don't contact them but they do contact you to tell you that they don't care what happens and aren't going to do anything about it? I just don't understand what you are saying is happening.

    And I'm still not quite certain why it is that you are so offended by what I have said. It would be very simple for you to correct me without being so aggressive and angry. Some of us gives hugs and advice. Some of us just give advice. You have been very vague and made some very shocking statements about the professionals you deal with. I find what you have said to be very disturbing.

    I would also like to remind you that even though you are not often on our board, you need to be aware that you are not the only person here who has had problems with their local child welfare agency either a) ignoring problems, or b) being another relative's personal bully stick. Perhaps you can be more aware that it's not helpful to demonize the agencies that some of us are forced to deal with. Dealt with carefully and with knowledge they can be very understanding and helpful. Sometimes it's awful, but at all times it's best to use a level head when working with them.

    I find it appalling that anyone would say they won't intervene 'unless there's a dead body.' Someone with your experience and expertise should probably report that person to their superior as out of line. But to report it to us as fact is puts your in their boat and I don't think it helps anyone here.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  18. dlgallant

    dlgallant New Member

    I've stayed away from this board for a very long time because you never fully read my posts; you're critical, rude and condescending to me, completely missing the point of what I'm asking or saying.

    It's too bad the people of KY aren't shocked and appalled by what goes on there. I worked with legislators 2 years trying to remove the defense for statutory rape "I thought she was older" Most statory rapists in KY are never charged, I'm not talking about 20 year olds dating 17, I'm talking about 50 year old men with 12-13 year old girls. In KY there are no legal limits for prosecutors in grand jury hearings. Even if the police arrest, many prosecutors lie and present false evidence to jurors to let rapists go if they think the woman (or in some cases girls) "deserved" it. A sheriff was found with a garage filled with confiscated drugs, and was let go with his defense he was storing it in his garage because he thought it was safer than the evidence room. One man was given double credit for his child support, the day he wrote the check, and the day it arrived at the clerk's office. It's possible the judge wasn't corrupt, just incompetent, but does it really matter?

    I could go on and on, but my point is there is corruption every where. Some places more so than others. I no longer live in KY, but my daughter is currently there because she knows she can get away with more there. Who is there to report to when corruption and the good old boy network go straight to the top? There was a movement a couple of years ago to clean up the judges. One was removed when it was proven he was trading dropping charges for sex. He was re-elected the next election! And unfortunately it's entirely possible I'll get a judge who'll give me Samantha just for asking. If you get on the wrong side of the system, I've mediated cases where the parents worst crime was poverty. But the mediation is a joke, because DHS holds all the cards, they don't have to mediate anything. If my daughter were in another county I could use my connections to get Samantha. How sad is that?

    I came to this forum because I did not have the years of experience from pain and anguish that many parents on this forum have suffered. My beautiful daughter was abused by her father and it took years to get it stopped. By the time it stopped (age 16) the damage was done and her personality began to sever. My honor student, varsity athlete began creating a ficticious alter ego and picking increasingly abusive boyfriends. I have survived the murder of my oldest son, academic sholarship bound to Tuskeegee to study Vet Medicine, and then the fractured personality of my youngest. I was desperate, frantic, and heartbroken. This was all so new to me. I needed answers, comfort, and encouragement. I had only been with this forum for a few months when you began belittling me and completely refusing to fully read anything that I wrote. You make arrogant assumptions because apparantly you think the things I say are sooo outrageous they couldn't possibly be true.

    I left once because I was at a very low point in my life and couldn't bare the additional stress of your responses. I came back because there are so many people here that have been encouraging and helpful and I decided not to allow one person to run me off. I also found that with some of the posts I actually had something to contribute. If nothing else, to return a shoulder that was so graciously offered to me by so many. You are so impatient with those that find it difficult to disengage from their children. I barely survived burying one child, I don't know that I will survive burying another. I will not enable my daughter, as you have accused me of in the past. But I will try to save my grandchild, and will be there to encourage her to make good choices, find safe housing, and receive the mental health care she needs. I would never encourage anyone to enable their child, as that is not what's in anyone's best interest. But, I can be patient and understanding with those that can't fathom their broken hearts every mending. Mine probably never will, but at least I sleep some at night and my daily life has a degree of normalcy. I have 2 extremely problematic step-sons, an unsupportive husband, and a very broken heart. I do not need the people I turn to for support tearing me down further.
  19. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I'm going to lock this thread to give everyone a chance to regroup.

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