Grandparents are important to their grandchildren, and, often, they are the ones who step in and make sure that the kids are all right. Grandparents are told that they don’t have any custodial rights in Iowa, but when it comes to a child in need of assistance case in juvenile court, that’s simply not true. You need experienced counsel, like the Graves Law Firm, to insure that your rights are protected so that your grandkids’ rights are protected.
In a CINA case, the main focus is on what’s in the best interests of the kids. But that’s pretty vague. If the children have been removed from the home, the first goal of the Department of Human Services is to return them to that home. Meanwhile, there is a preference for placement with a relative, and, as a grandparent, you qualify as such a relative. (Click here to learn more about CINA)
As the Graves Law Firm can advise you, there are certain steps you should take if your grandchildren’s rights are at stake:
- Make sure you inform the DHS in writing that you would like to be considered for placement. We’ve seen grandparents left out of the process only because they failed to ask for the kids soon enough. The Graves Law Firm can help you with this.
- If you want to be a party to this case – in other words to have your own lawyer in the courtroom and be able to call witnesses and file motions – you will need to file a Motion to Intervene. These are usually granted by Iowa’s juvenile court judges. You will not be given a state appointed lawyer, however.
- Be helpful and participate! Show the DHS worker that you care about the kids, be a constructive part of their lives, provide what assistance you can and try to be positive about the children and their parents. Attend Family Team Meetings and court sessions so the workers know of your concerns!
At the Graves Law Firm, we like working with grandparents who want to make sure their grandchildren are helped, not hurt, in Iowa’s juvenile courts. Contact us or call us at 515-309-3776 for a free consultation.