Taking action to protect your grandchild's safety

Often grandparents find it difficult to accept that their grandchildren are not legally theirs. They may love them as though they were their own, and as a result, they will have certain beliefs and expectations regarding how they should be raised.

The reality is that grandparents do not automatically have legal custody of their grandchildren. However, there can be times in which they will feel it is necessary to intervene in order to protect their grandchild's safety.

You have the right and responsibility to enforce safety when your grandchildren are in your care

You may not agree with some of the parents' attitudes toward safety and discipline when the children are in their care, but when you are caring for your grandchildren, you have the right to enforce your rules. For example, you may require that your grandchildren wear helmets when riding their bike at your home. However, you do not have the right to dictate the way that your grandchildren's parents enforce safety at home, as long as they are not breaking the law.

Can I take action if I believe that my grandchildren are living in an unsafe environment?

If you have genuine concerns about your grandchildren's safety, you have the right to take action and contact your local Child Protective Services department. You should do this if you believe there has been an instance of abuse, neglect or substance abuse.

You should always make the safety of your grandchildren your top priority when dealing with disagreements with their parents. It is important that you understand your rights so that you can take the appropriate action.

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