How do I become a foster parent to my grandkids without having to use a lawyer?

Q: My son and 2 grandkids (3 and 6) have lived with me 6 months. The Mom abandoned them and moved out of the country. The Dad doesn’t want them and is going to give them to me. I can’t afford a lawyer and make too much to qualify for any assistance or insurance. I’m thinking about fostering them, so they will get medical insurance and I will get paid- which I need to be able to raise them. How do I go about it without an attorney? What are the pros and cons? How long should it take?

A: You should consult with a Family Law Attorney. You may have several options. There are some recent amendments to 23 Pa. CS § 5324 which will inure to your benefit. This would allow you to get temporary custody. If going through an attorney to get temporary custody or an adoption does not interest you, you may want to consult with Children Youth and Families of Allegheny County. They may be able to assist you with having the children declared “dependent” if they are without proper parental control or guidance. If you have an appropriate home, you may be appointed by the court as caretakers and be eligible for foster care funding.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.