As a grandparent, you will love and care for your grandchildren as though they were your own children, but that does not mean that you have the automatic legal right to visitation or custody over them that a direct parent would have. This is why it is such a difficult situation when grandparents have concerns about the welfare of their grandchildren.
If a grandparent believes that one of his or her grandchildren is being neglected or abused, he or she may feel powerless to do anything about it. While you as a grandparent may not have the legal right to remove the child from the situation you are concerned about, you do have the right to voice your concerns to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Additionally, you may be able to file for custody of your grandchild, especially if the custodial parents are deemed to be unfit.
How is child neglect defined under the law?
There are different types of child neglect. Physical neglect is when the custodians of a child fail to provide him or her with the most basic of needs such as getting food and water, shelter, clothing and hygiene. If the child needs medication or other basic requirements, medical neglect could be classed as failing to administer these treatments.
It is also possible for a child to be emotionally neglected. This can occur when a child witnesses violence, drug use, is bullied or denied his or her most basic needs of love and affection.
If you are concerned about the welfare of your grandchild, it is vital that you take action in order to make sure that they are safe and provided for. Learn more about grandparents' rights from an experienced attorney.