Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grandmother fights for relative rights for children

Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 4:00 am

By JENNIFER SUMMER Houston Community Newspapers

A grandmother’s love is what kept her four grandchildren out of foster care.

For Cleveland’s Linda Boles, it has been a fight to gain grandparental rights and any monetary support for all four children, a fight she is planning to take to Washington, D.C. to rally for more rights as well as the opportunity to gain custody and support as a caregiver for her grandchildren.

“My daughter was with four different drug dealers, so Child Protective Services was called numerous times. It took 29 voluntary placements for them to give me the paperwork to keep the kids at my house and keep them safe,” Boles said.

Boles was working in real estate at the time when she would receive the calls from CPS where she would keep them for several days then they would go back to the mom’s house.

After the numerous calls and the evidence, Boles now has all four grandchildren and started the group Kids Left Behind which fights for grandparental rights in Texas.

“There are a lot of grandparents in Texas who do not know we have no rights. In 2008, I spoke in Washington, D.C. on the fact there is no funding from the state for grandparents to care for their grandchildren. They are not told from the beginning what they can have and what they cannot,” Boles said.

With the Kids Left Behind group, Boles has worked with other grandparents who are going through the same thing she has.

Boles asks the questions, how many calls does it take for a true CPS investigation? and why is adoption not available to grandparents and relatives but it is to foster parents?

A few of her cases, the children are placed into a foster home and then they are picked up by the grandparents who must go through the same background checks and house checks as a foster parent would have to but they do not have the same paperwork or the same rights.

“We go through the same things foster homes do but we get nothing. Why is there not some kinship added when they develop these committees? Our voice is not heard. Grandparents are raising 3 percent of the children in this state, yet we do not have a voice,” Boles said.

Every couple of months, the grandparents have to file for custody of the children again and must take off work whenever CPS calls for a home check or visit.

In Boles’ case, she is not receiving any child support from the parents of the children so she must support them as much as she can, but they currently live on 53 cents a day.

For foster families, they are reimbursed for most of their expenses while the grandparents and other relative caregivers are not.

“Voluntary placement needs to be done away with. The parents cannot just show up when they want to. Relative caregivers need rights to take care of the children. We deal with doctor appointments, school and transportation every day so we need help,” Boles said.

There are several others across the country who are rallying behind Boles and hoping to raise funds to help her have a place to stay while in Washington, D.C. so she can share her story and rally for relative caregiver rights.

They have already received some monetary support but they are hoping for more support and donations to help the trip be successful for Boles.

“I cannot understand why Texas does not want to help with all of these children. If they are put in a relative caregiver’s home, they have a better chance at succeeding than in a foster home,” Boles said. “I have lost everything, but that is the love I have for these grandchildren; I would never give that up.”

To support her family, Boles hunts, fishes and gardens to ensure there is always food on the table.

She and the children have also had the opportunity to go Echo Hill Ranch which is owned by the son of Kinky Friedman, Dr. S.T. Friedman, where they learned how to fold the flag properly and play with other kids.

“It is wrong for the children when we do not get to participate in things because we cannot afford it. Every child should be treated the same,” Boles said.

The rally Boles plans to attend is the GrandRally in Washington, D.C. Sept. 15 where she will have the chance to meet other relative caregivers and have her voice heard.

“It is time for our voice to be heard,” Boles added.

For more information about the GrandRally, log on to www.grandrally.org.

Source http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/dayton/news/grandmother-fights-for-relative-rights-for-children/article_30d65ff7-062a-58d3-9745-727ca443db82.html

1 comment:

  1. I have 3 grandchildren that was taking from me and put in foster care because of a 23year old case with my son testing positive for cocaine when he was a baby i have been clean and sober for 13 years what can i do