A short while back I wrote a post about how Virginia is looking at placing children with family before placing them in the foster care system with strangers. I received a rather angry email from a grandfather claiming I didn't know what I was talking about. I received the email privately, and I replied privately.
I would like to address the issue a little more clearly here for all to read. While it is true that Virginia does have a law that states when a child is taken into custody by the state, the state must attempt to contact family members and look at them first for placement to keep families together. However, that does NOT mean that the state has to decide to place the child with a family member. In this particular case the grandfather was angry (and I don't blame him) because it went to court and the judge decided to keep the children with the foster family rather than the grandparents.
This is why many grandparents go to great lengths to not let the children get into the system in the first place. There are pros and cons for both situations. Unfortunately, I have personally experienced both extremes in my own family. I am getting really tired of getting so experienced at things I never intended to become an expert at.
Anyway, just so I make myself clear and write that the state by law must notify family members and look at them first for placement, does not obligate them to choose the family. That may be a terrible decision made by social services and the courts or it may be a good decision. It all depends on the situation. I just believe it is sad that any of us have found ourselves in these situations in the first place.
May God bless of all you grandparents who are raising grandchildren or who wish you were.
Karen Best Wright, B.S., M.A., CHES
Holistic Health and Wellness Educator