Having a baby is one of the most joy filled times of a parent’s life. But with the joy comes a lot of responsibility. You go from caring for just yourself to caring for yourself and another individual.
Unfortunately, life happens and sometimes a parent is no longer able to take adequate care of their children, whether it is due to poverty, addiction, or health issues. If this happens many times the state is going to step in to determine what is in the best interest of the child. In Kansas, we describe these types of cases as Child In Need of Care or CINC Cases.
In order to ensure that the child(ren) are taken care of the court will likely remove the child from the parent and place them with the other parent, grandparent, other relative, or foster family.
It is important to understand that if you are the parent or grandparent you do have rights.
Courts do everything they can to get you on the right track to re-integrate your child with you. They will provide you with a task list and other resources to help you establish a good foundation for proper care of your child. An attorney can help you through the process and petition the court for visitation during your completion.
Non-custodial Parent Rights
If you still have parental rights and can provide shelter, food, and care for your child you are the ideal placement for your child. You can be awarded temporary or full custody of your child during the course of the proceedings against your child’s other parent. Even if you have not been the most active in your child’s life up until this point, your opinion still matters and the court will want you to be involved in the process.
Courts grant grandparents of children in need of care substantial consideration when evaluating what is in the child’s best interest. Courts often grant grandparents custody, visitation, and residency arrangements. Grandparents are granted automatic standing in Child in Need of Care cases which means that grandparents now receive automatic notice of the proceedings when their grandchildren are involved. Under KSA 38-2286, when a grandparent requests to be granted custody the court will consider (1) the wishes of the parents, child, and grandparents; (2) the extent to which the grandparent has cared for the child; (3) the intent and circumstances under which the child is to be placed with the grandparent; and (4) the physical and mental health of all involved.
If you are a grandparent, looking to step in during your grandchild’s time of need, Fields Law can assist you.
Other Interested Parties
Other family members or other individuals who have close emotional ties with the child can also pursue interested party status to get participatory rights in a child in need of care proceedings. This may be aunts, uncles, foster parents, or others that the court deem appropriate.
Across our nation, one thing most of us agree on is the importance of caring for our children. We may not always agree on what is best for them, but if you find a child you love in need of care, reach out to an attorney to learn about your rights and options.