Generation “F” for Failing
There seems to be social phenomena afoot in our country involving middle class kids, not underprivileged kids, having children out of wedlock and then failing miserably as biological parents. I’m talking about “20 something’s”, not naive kids in high school. This breakdown is causing a spin off phenomena of responsible, “old school” grandparents who have not even reached the earliest eligibility ages for retirement or social security finding themselves parenting again for their grandchildren. It is the dynamic between the irresponsible and narcissistic 20-something “parents” and the responsible, 40-50 something grandparents, who have a track record of sacrificing for their children all their lives, that is bringing a new type of case to private investigators. The new type of case is the custody investigation being requested by the grandparent when the parents, usually unwed, are involved in criminal behavior or otherwise irresponsible to the point the child is endangered.
In the eight such cases I have undertaken in the past 18 months the majority of failed bio-parents are substance abusers with a failed work history who prefer babysitters and nightclubs to parenting and providing for their offspring. These are not the pulled up by the boot straps young parents who find a way to provide for the children while working hard to do so and abandoning their “fun years”, that we have grown to admire. These modern day parents are so bad that you can’t understand why they won’t voluntarily relinquish the kids…but they usually will not. Sometimes they seem to hold onto custody just to annoy the grandparents who would willingly take the child into a functional environment. Early into most of these cases, I have been quickly convinced that the children are not being well cared for and nurtured. However, that is not the hurdle. The hurdle comes in trying to convince an overwhelmingly overburdened bureaucracy in Arizona’s Child Protective Services (CPS) that the child should be removed. The default setting for CPS, at least in Arizona, is finding a way, any possible way, to leave the children with the bio-parent(s). The only exception to this is when the sole parent is arrested, and then it must be for violence, serious substance abuse or drug crimes. Even a backlogged CPS figures an armed robber, drug addict, marijuana farmer or alcoholic is not a good fit for a child.
The grandparents I have worked for have never called out of malice but only after having gut wrenchingly watched the ever deteriorating conditions the child must cope with, physically, emotionally or both. There are many kinds of abuse. Some are in the form of neglect and some in physical assault. The gross neglect seems to be the most prevalent in these cases. CPS is not going to take a grandparent’s word that something foul is afoot, especially when CPS is programmed to leave well enough alone. The grandparents I have worked for have been squeaky enough wheels to cause CPS to investigate; at least enough, that they have found and acknowledged problems with nutrition or hygiene. The parents have been counseled and given classes on feeding a 6 year old or changing a diaper and then left again to their own devices.
In most cases the failed parents simply re-locate themselves where either the grandparents or CPS, or both, can’t find them. Our most recent case stemmed from credible rumors a grandparent picked up on regarding their adult child’s lifestyle that was endangering their child. In this case we had to first find the place of residence, establish probable cause that drug trafficking laws were being violated from the residence in which the pre-school child was living and then provide the evidence to the police. We were fortunate in accomplishing all and in working with very dedicated and caring police officers who were incensed about the child living in a home that was the base for criminal enterprise.
A police raid resulted in the arrest of the parent and her boyfriend, and the removal of the child. CPS has given the child to the grandparent for now but provides every possible opportunity for the criminal parent to prove they are rehabilitated and able to get the child again. It will be an uphill battle for the offending parent and a nerve wracking ride for the grandparent. If it were a perfect world the parent would indeed rehab and become a good caring parent for the child. Maybe we’ll get lucky.
Child neglect investigations, contracted by the grandparents, are something with which we have become only too familiar. If you are a grandparent in this position, please let us help.
7633 E. Acoma Drive, Suite 207-B
Scottsdale, AZ 85260-2908 USA
Phone: (480) 269-0027
Re-Published from Veritas Associates WordPress Blog