Grandparents; Counties & States Can’t Live With Them, Children Can’t Live Without Them.

September 24, 2015 in Adoption, Grandparents & Kinship, Public Policy, The States by Mike Tikkanen

magnificent double exposure lacrosse mississippi river lampshadeFor many years America’s child protection services have operated poorly by deliberately making kinship placements difficult for abused and neglected children.    Working for kinship custody can be expensive and frustrating and many folks just don’t have the resources to fight these battles.

Children desperately need a connection to family.  Attachment disorder is not just a word.

Cutting the cord to all that is familiar is devastating to any child, especially children suffering (usually for years) inside a drug crazed, abusive, often violent home.  Healthy family is critical to the well-being of all children.

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children  

As a long-time volunteer guardian ad-Litem, I have removed 50 children from their birth homes because their lives were endangered by repeated sex abuse, violence, or neglect.

Placed in non-kinship foster and adoptive homes with almost no investigation into their own family members, most of my guardian ad-Litem children have felt like foreigners in foster and adoptive settings.

Try as they might, it is difficult for non-kin families to make children feel at home or, like “one of them”.

As a Guardian ad Litem, I have been deliberate in getting to know the terrified, heartbroken kids being bounced around my county’s child protection system.

It is not the social worker, the teacher, or other professionals working with children that are responsible for the problems within American child protection service, it is lack of awareness and understanding by the citizens, media, & policy makers of the core problems facing abused children & the institutions that serve them.

Several of my County kids had over 25 foster home placements & experienced dozens of teachers, social workers, and others like me before they were let out of the system.  In more than one case, I witnessed deliberate and counterproductive interference with capable family members trying to provide a familiar and loving home.

It’s a lonesome and frightening world for a five year old when mother has disappeared and a multitude of strangers take her place.

Behavioral problems among abandoned children are common, which leads to kids living in multiple homes and no sense of permanence.

Many of my child protection children were in big trouble while still in the system.  Few of them did well in school, & many did not graduate or go onto lead a normal life.

Nationally, 80% of youth aging-out of foster care go on to lead dysfunctional lives.

if you’re interested, more can be learned about this topic by visiting these sites;

Because each state and county address child protection issues differently (here’s a few of the states listed on our site;Colorado, California, Indiana, LouisianaNew Jersey, ArizonaMississippi, Montana, Kentucky, (click on “The State”s under Categories on our website to find your state)

You, the grandparent/kinship provider need allies to make your case to help your grandchildren lead happier, safer lives.

Abused and neglected children have no voice, no lobby, and too often no chance to escape a toxic home without your help.

Those of us who have been a part of the child protection system have experienced these issues and can begin to understand and help others articulate what must happen to make life more livable for at risk children and those trying to help the children.

Change is overdue in all states, dangerously overdue in some states.  Here are a few organizations that can be helpful to grandparents & relatives of abused & neglected children;


Grand Magazine

MN Kinship Care

Join us here to learn and participate in bringing that change.  Send me your stories, experiences, insights & links to other helpful organizations.


*The amygdala is the reptilian part of the brain that saves us from unexpected dangers.  In abused and neglected children it becomes overdeveloped and the primary decision making influence in their lives – generally to the child’s detriment.


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