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I was given temporary custody of 4 of my grandchildren by my daughter until she got on her feet. She lives in Maryland; I live in Kansas. My daughter came and said  they found a house they could all be together in, and she was ready to bring them home. A month later child protection is involved because of neglect. Child protection says they did not place the children but that my daughter signed them over volunteerily to avoid jail and putting them in foster care. The person she signed them over to refuses me access to the children (who are now living in Florida). Do I have any rights?

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When child protection services has possession of children (either through courts deeming the parents unfit or through voluntary signing over rights), the courts do everything they can to place the child/children with suitable family members. The father/s of the children will come first. If the father signs over rights (or the father cannot be found), the courts will try and find all other family members. Family members who wish to have custody of the child/children will then undergo background checks and home screenings. If the family member passes all of the screenings and tests, the courts will normally place the child/children with that family member. One thing to remember is that this takes time (sometimes years).

That said, there are a couple things in your statement above which do not make sense.

First, your daughter would have signed the children over to the state, and the state would have placed the children. She would not have any say in who gets the children.

Second, if the children were taken into custody in Maryland, they would not be in Florida. Childrens' services (under normal circumstances) place children in the same state. They would not have gone to Florida under another agency.

If you want to see the children, you will have to go through the agency who she signed them into custody with. Given that you are family, they should do everything they can to place the children with you (as long as all screenings are passed and no other family members wish to have custody.

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