Grandparents have NO rights in adoption proceedings
Lets use another "example" family. In this example we have both sets of grandparents available, and willing to take on the responsibility of a child. The mother and father are losing their parental rights, the reason is not important in this example. There is one child who is under 10 years old.
Because something happened that caused a DSS case to be opened, the child has been removed from the mother and father's care is in DSS custody. DSS "policy", is to place children with family when possible, so the child is temporarily placed with one set of grandparents who happen to live close by. There is nothing wrong with that. Problems begin later.
First, it should be noted at this point, the child is in DSS custody, and on paper is in a category that allows DSS to receive Federal funding to pay for the child's care. At the same time DSS will ask the family court for child support from the parents. The child support is actually paid to the grandparents who are caring for him, but who gets those Federal dollars? That would be DSS. Due to the tremendous backlog of cases like this, the usual time frame allowed for resolution is nearly always extended. While all this is going on, it is very easy for the case worker to say or do things, or perhaps disagree with the family on how the child should be cared for, any small detail can be a cause. Because the case worker, an agent of DSS has total control of every aspect of the case, and the life of the family, things can change with no notice. The worker has the power to take the child from the grandparents and place him in a foster home at any time. If that happens, the grandparents can, and usually are denied any further contact, even if they are good people and did nothing wrong. This further traumatizes the child.
At some point, this case is decided in family court. In our example, the parents rights are being terminated, so what happens to the child? This was said during a hearing by the judge. I am paraphrasing this but it is essentially what was said. I was there, and I heard it myself:
When we terminate the rights of the parents, we terminate the rights of the whole rest of the family right along with them. That is the law in South Carolina.
This is totally contrary to common sense. After doing a lot of research, it is evident that this is not actually accurate. There is nothing in the adoption law that says this, in fact, grandparents or other close family members (of the child) are hardly mentioned at all, and certainly not in the sense described by this statement. Apparently because there is an ABSENCE of law defining what must be done, assumptions are made to the effect "because the law doesn't say grandparents must be considered, they must not have to be considered, and therefore have no rights".
During the last legislative session, a bill was introduced to correct this inequity in the law. H3225 (the Grandparents Rights Amendment) was introduced last January. The bill has a total of 19 sponsors and co-sponsors in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Here is a ink to the actual bill so you can read it for yourself. H3225 on SC House website
Essentially, this bill adds one paragraph to the existing Adoption statutes that would MANDATE the family court to give grandparents "priority consideration" for permanent placement or adoption of children when the parents rights are being terminated. This would minimize the trauma a child suffers during this process, and would keep the child with family who love him even if his parents are not able, for whatever reason to care for him.
Apparently, in today's world, common sense must be legislated! I know there are some cases where a child SHOULD be protected from a whole family, but that is a very small number compared to the total number of children who end up never seeing anyone from their family again, just because the parents made bad choices.
The CHILDREN should have a right to their birth family. Why would we as a society deny that right? Do not condemn a whole family just because a parent made bad choices.