Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Custody issue arises with grandparents after missing child found

Many grandparents in Virginia are raising their grandchildren or are seeking custody for numerous reasons. In some cases, it may in the best interests of the children for grandparents to have custody, although this is usually an emotional issue that is not easily resolved.

The issues of grandparents rights and Social Services involvement are currently in headlines across the country, after a 2-year-old girl from Ohio recently went missing from her great-grandparents’ home. An entire nation watched the news and hoped the girl would be found safely. Fortunately, after two days, the little girl was found alive by a rescuer within a mile of the home. She was treated in the hospital for dehydration, diaper rash, poison ivy and cuts.

Authorities state the toddler’s parents and grandparents are currently not suspects in the circumstances leading to her going missing. However, the girl’s mother says she feels like she is being treated as if she’s at fault. Since the girl’s rescue, her mother has not been allowed unsupervised visitation and is only allowed to see her for about a half hour at a time. She claims that Children Services is attempting to give custody to the girl’s great-grandparents.

It is still unknown how the little girl got out of the house without anyone knowing. Other circumstances that may be leading authorities to believe the child’s parents are unfit to have custody are not known. The decision to give custody to other family members when the parents want to retain custody is rarely an easy one. Numerous factors must be considered, including conditions in the home and incidents that led to the child’s harm or endangerment.

Source: Fox 8 News, "Custody of Rainn Peterson will remain with great-grandparents," Peggy Gallek, Oct. 6, 2015

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