Kinship care is the right for family members and extended family, such as the child’s grandparents, to step in and take care of the children. This can happen if, for any reason, the parent is unable to provide for the child. It may be due to the loss of one’s job, problems with drug or alcohol abuse, or other circumstances that would not make it possible for them to provide proper care to their children.
Parents may approve or even encourage kinship care by creating an uncontested court order or through a formal entrustment agreement of their intention to offer a new custody arrangement. Without this, grandparents may have some difficulty with making many important decisions regarding the child’s health care and education, among many others.
The State of Virginia passed a law in 2013 to simplify kinship care, allowing the providers to be able to enroll children in the local school district in the neighborhood where they live. All that is needed is an affidavit that the child’s parents have signed, describing their agreement to the alternative care, custody arrangements, and any other information necessary.
There may be instances, however, when parents will deny grandparents their rights, for whatever reason. In Virginia, there are currently no laws that explicitly state what the rights of grandparents are, or any other relative for that matter. Nonetheless, grandparents may still request visitation, provision of care, guardianship, or other matters, if they can demonstrate to the court that it will be in the child’s best interests.
If you have any question about grandparents’ rights, child custody, or any other related family law matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to Davies, Barrell, Will, Lewellyn & Edwards, PLC to request an appointment.