Grandparents’ Rights in Texas (#3 of 5 Installments)

February 10, 2014

Child Custody, Newscasts

Who is Looking Out for Grandparents’ Rights?

In our previous installment, we went over the details of Troxel v. Granville, a landmark US Supreme Court decision which set the standard for most of the laws regarding grandparents’ rights in every state, including Texas. In this installment, we will examine other legal actions which have been instituted since SCOTUS entered its decision on Troxel v. Granville in June 2000.

In March 2007, Senators Hillary Clinton (D) of New York and Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine introduced a bipartisan bill titled the Kinship Caregiver Support Act. This bill was designed to help and other relatives who assume primary caretaker responsibilities for children if living with the biological parents is no longer in the best interest of the children. The bill offers support to the more than six million children in the US for whom the primary caregiver is a grandparent or other relative, but does not address custody or visitation issues specifically. The Kinship Caregiver Support Act does increase access to federal assistance programs for education, legal services, and medical care.

As of this writing, the Kinship Caregiver Support Act has not been enacted. Texas, however, has taken steps to offer help to kinship caregivers. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Texas laws regarding kinship care aim to ensure that children who are not cared for by their parents are placed in an environment which:

  • Provides love and care in a familiar setting;
  • Provides parents with a sense of hope that children will remain connected to their birth families;
  • Enables children to live with people they know and trust;
  • Reinforces a child's sense of cultural identity and positive self-esteem;
  • Helps a child make and sustain extended family connections;
  • Continues lifelong family traditions and memories;
  • Supports the child in building healthy relationships within the family;
  • Supports the child's need for safety and well-being; and
  • Creates a sense of stability in the life of a child.

Texas DFPS also provides a Kinship Manual that contains a great deal of information about resources and programs available to grandparents’ and other relatives who act as primary caregivers.

The Wynne Law Firm has served Dallas/Fort Worth residents in the area of family law since 1996. If you have questions regarding a legal case involving grandparents’ rights or kinship caregiver rights, contact our Fort Worth offices today at 817-339-6916 or online.  Our next installment will examine Texas laws which deal specifically relate to grandparents’ rights.

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