Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor, Feb. 21

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grandparents deserve more rights

Dear editor:

I am a resident of Tennessee and a very concerned grandmother of a 2-year-old little girl. My son is deceased, and I have been fighting for my rights as a grandparent here in the state of Tennessee.

What concerns me most is the fact that for too many years the state and local government has always wanted to keep the child in the home of the parents. Department of Children's Services always says it's in the best interest of the child to remain with her parents.

Well, as we very well see, this is not always the best nor the safest option. DCS has let not only us down but the children as well. I'm sure you've read the headlines about the growing numbers of children's deaths while either in DCS custody or while cases were reported and DCS was supposed to be investigating to protect the children.

My question is simple: When will society, lawmakers and government realize that none of this was in the best interest of the children? As I stated in my previous letters, grandparents are never even considered as family options to gain custody of these children to possibly prevent these types of tragedies.

Did you know a foster parent has more rights than you as a biological grandparent? Think about that. How many more children are we going to lose before a change takes place? Who should we hold accountable when our children that are left in the homes of criminals, learn that lifestyle and become a statistic in the juvenile court system themselves?

I sat in the Bedford County courtroom last February and there were children ranging from ages 11 and up being called before the judge for various charges. It's heartbreaking because I know as well as everyone reading this letter -- why wasn't something done before it got to this point? Why is this child being punished now by the state, the same state that had options to help this child years ago but turned its back on him.

Please tell me. Who is really at fault here?

Sharonita L. Liles


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