My grandchild has been taken away – how can I best support them?

My children are less than 12 and a grandparent is taking them in. His wife is only 21. I would like to make up my mind whether I wish to move them two years before they are due to leave home, or just to one year. A year is longer than a comfort zone to try to find somewhere to live but I am happy to give it time. Is this at all fair? They do not have a choice, they are being taken away from their parents. What are the responsibilities of parents when grandparent takes in their children? If there was some kind of guardian I could contact, would they assist? We are willing to show up and support but cannot know if the kids can cope. A new family yearning without knowing if they will ever know us is terrifying.

Well, from a practical point of view, it is the responsibility of your son to provide you with guardianship of your grandchildren. Perhaps he should consider this if he is ill, is in prison or undergoing care at home. Perhaps your decision is yours to make, but he should address your concerns at the time you make this decision.

Concerns about this situation must be taken very seriously. Your son needs to explore the welfare of his grandson and the fact that you – who have gone above and beyond to allow the grandchild to live in your home – are ready to support your grandson means that he can expect you to be supportive.

Ideally, though, he should get a proper arrangement in place to meet your family’s needs, and your granddaughter’s needs. A family member would be ideal, as a crèche might prove better for older children than the care you would offer. There are a few ideas you can explore in terms of potential accommodation, including residential, but you are looking for more than an alternative residence. You just need to take the time to consider what is best for everyone and, because the situation is so upsetting, get down to the facts.

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