DSS Ignores Caring Grandparents

Dear Editor,

In March 2023, Guilford County Department of Social Services took custody of my grandchildren and Ihaven’t been able to see or have any contact with them.

My daughter called around 4 p.m. on a Thursday and told me they had taken the boys. I was shocked, confused, hurt, scared and angry. My daughter was intoxicated at the time so nothing she said made sense.

I made contact with a social worker that was able to explain what she knew that led up to the boys being removed from my daughter’s custody but could not tell me where they were. I made contact with the oldest boy’s father and was told he couldn’t get his son either and his parents were trying to find out what was going on. I’m not going to discuss the reasons for them not having the children because that has to be worked out with the court. I will say they were not abused or neglected.

My issue is the way DSS took these children and placed them with strangers when family was willing and able to take them. The oldest boy is 3 years old and has two sets of grandparents that love and adore him. The youngest only has grandparents on the maternal side. As I previously mentioned the boys were taken late Thursday, so I really didn’t get much information. On Friday I started making calls and was eventually told nobody could see the boys until we went to court the following Wednesday. Wednesday came. After sitting in a courtroom all morning we weren’t even given an opportunity to speak, just another court date a month later.

During that time I communicated with the paternal grandmother about her getting our grandson. I knew I was not in a position to take the boys due to my recent separation and living situation, so it made sense that she should be able to at least get the grandson we share. Here we are four months later and the social worker just did a home study for her last week. During this time my 3-year-old grandson is going through a traumatic experience, not only being taken from his parents, but his grandparents that he was used to seeing, speaking or video chatting with often. I can’t help but wonder if he feels abandoned by us. My younger grandson was 9 months old at the time, and while I know he probably had some confusion himself, I know it was very traumaticfor the older child. So much so that when they placed him with these strangers he tried to run away from them,fell and injured himself.

It’s my understanding that when they removed the boys from my daughter’s care they asked her aboutother placement for them and in her drunken state of mind she wouldn’t or couldn’t give options. I assume with it being so late in the day the caseworkers involved were just ready to go home so it was easier to just take them to a foster home, instead of taking a little extra time to reach out to family. And yes, they had contact information for me before things got to this point. When DSS first got involved I would reach out to ask questions, get information and would be told that there is only certain information they can give me. I have a huge problem with that because maybe if as grandparents we were given more information the boys wouldn’t be with strangers now.

It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to us when we have been actively involved all of their lives. And to take almost four months for a simple home visit that probably took all of 30 minutes is completely unacceptable.

There is no way I will believe that Guilford County DSS really cares about what is best for the children. Ifeel like right now they are more concerned about getting off work in time and cleaning up their reputation after those kids died in that house fire in December. They don’t care about a child being taken from his whole family and traumatized because his parents made a mistake. And they say that there is a shortage of foster parents but they have no problem leaving children that have family that will care for them in a foster home and dragging their feet when the family is trying to get them.

(Name withheld to protect the identity of the children.)


City Survey Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Dear Editor,

The idea that the City Council wants to do a survey about their performance and they want people to be honest is fabulous, but they are using a survey service which structures the questions as general.

Will there be questions about traffic control, and our road maintenance my biggest concerns. There are also many complaints about community violence and control of homeless population and the fiscal management of bond proceeds. Will there be questions about these important areas of responsibility on the City Council performance?

Mike Haley