Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

A Plea For Help

on July 10, 2013

This is a very sad and important post, and I’m hoping that someone can help.  I am reaching out to my WordPress community to help a family that is in dire need of finding the assistance they need.

I cannot give names, suffice to say, it is part of my extended family that is in shock and they have run into a stone wall with local authorities and government officials regarding what has happened to a family member.  The easiest way for me to do this is to give you the facts as I know them and let you decide if you can help them.

A seven year old child had a tantrum last Thursday.  According to his mother, he became out of control and slapped her.  To be fair to the mother, she was born with a disability that has robbed approximately eighty percent of her eyesight and raising a child under those conditions is difficult at best.

However, instead of calling the child’s grandparents, who have helped raised him and have been giving their daughter money to help cover her expenses, she Baker Acted the boy and he is now in a Behavioral Hospital.

This seven year old child, who I know and have seen grow up, has never exhibited aggressive or hostile behavior when in the presence of his grandparents, the rest of the family, or in school. Evidently, this behavior is new and has occurred since the entry of a new boyfriend into the home environment.  The boyfriend has three children of his own, who he has systematically distributed to other family members to raise since he met the child’s mother.

The grandparents received the news that their grandson was admitted to the Behavioral Crisis Unit by their daughter in a TEXT MESSAGE.  Efforts to call and text her have proved fruitless.  When they drive to the daughter’s home…no one is there.

Hoping to have the child released into the birth father’s custody or their own, the grandparents consulted a lawyer who advised them that they were wasting their time. The birth father had visitation rights, but all custody rights were the mother’s.  Grandparents evidently have no rights whatsoever when concerned for the welfare of their grandchildren.

Multiple calls to the Department of Children and Families also proved fruitless.  They turned a deaf ear and said it was the mother’s right to Baker Act her seven year old and that the Grandparents are not even allowed to be informed of what Institution he is in or have visitation.  They refused to get involved and said that there was no proof that the home environment was the cause of the child’s distress.

If you think things couldn’t get worse, well think again.  The daughter and her boyfriend went to the police last evening and she filed Harassment Charges against her own parents for the multiple messages and texts that they have been sending wanting to know where and how their grandchild is.  The police came to their door last night and said they had a right to arrest them and would do so if they tried to communicate with their daughter again.

These grandparents are besides themselves with grief, worry and hurt.  The whole family is distressed and worried about this little boy.  The father is willing to take custody if the mother doesn’t feel equipped to handle their son.  The grandparents are more than willing to raise their grandson (who spent a large portion of his seven short years on earth in their home with his mother.)

My heart aches for the child, who is now most likely traumatized and feeling abandoned by those he depended on for love, comfort and stability.  My heart bleeds for the Grandparents who are fighting just to see their grandson and their bewilderment at their daughter’s hostility towards them.  They have done nothing but give their daughter and their grandson their love, support and encouragement over the years and this situation is unbearable for them.

If there is anyone reading this who knows of who these grandparents can turn to try to resolve this horrible, horrible situation, please leave me a comment, or e-mail me at  I know that WordPress has members from all walks of life: lawyers, social workers and psychiatrists who possibly may know of an avenue that the Grandparents have not discovered or authorities are not willing to tell them about.  Even if you’re a blogger who has encountered a similar situation and know of anything that can help this family, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Meanwhile, a seven year old boy will go to bed tonight in a strange place among strangers, when there are loving grandparents looking for him.

With tears in my eyes,

Mary Ellen McMahon

44 responses to “A Plea For Help

  1. Bastet says:

    Reblogged this on Bastet and Sekhmet and commented:
    Please read this…it’s very important! Especially my American followers. Thank-you.

  2. As distressing as it is for us adults to think of him going to bed, alone and with strangers tonight…he is likely more secure and feels more safe exactly where he is if things are as they seem at home.
    I would get in touch with a local Guardian Ad Litem if possible or any type of children’s advocate. Maybe it is time for dad to file for a change of custody.
    As for the harassment order…grandma and grandpa should be able to request a hearing on the order…until then NO CONTACT.

    • M E McMahon says:

      Thank you so very much for the information. I am going to contact them now and pass it on! I can’t thank you enough!

      • A local domestic violence center/agency may also be able to suggest resources that may be available.

      • JayNine says:

        Yes, the best an only thing from canadian eyes that they can do, as i have experienced here with family courts –is go to their nearest family court office, speak with a volunteer there and see if they can “File A Motion” against or for more info?? All i know is to go to nearest family court for their advise!!! ?? Please cranky keep us updated

      • M E McMahon says:

        I will and thanks for the comments! I’m compiling all the information to give to the grandparents tomorrow! Bless you for your advice!

  3. Sahm King says:

    Reblogged this on The Arkside of Thought by Sahm King and commented:
    If you know anything that can help, please let Mary Ellen know asap.

  4. I have been the grandparent with no rights. I hope they find someone who can help them. If they do, please post about it. Thanks…

    • M E McMahon says:

      It’s so hard being a mother and a grandmother to imagine the pain these people are going through. I’ll definitely keep you updated and thanks so much for your comments.

  5. Basharr says:

    This is going to be long and maybe upsetting, I live In Ca and the reality here is that we grandparents have few rights if any. Our youngest daughter is Bipolar and as well a chronic Marijuana user, my wife and I do not support her lifestyle and because we don’t, we also don’t get to see our grandson. Now there are steps that can be taken, one of them would be contacting the family law facilitator, the service is free in most cases and one can begin court proceedings to gain visitation or outright custody of the child. It is an up hill battle but the system is packed and we were told that because the system is packed there is a better chance of making headway as it makes more room in the system.

    Now on to the next question, this new boyfriend. Whats going on is the question that is in my mind. I know when my stepfather hit the scene life changed, I won’t go into details but I will tell you it was not pretty and it got worse when I told other adults about it. You need to get the grandparents on the court docket I am not sure what it is called but they can get placed on the venue and plead for custody (temporarily). I would also suggest contacting Child Protective Services, they may be able to talk sense to the mother and urge her for the sake of the child to come to some agreement with the grandparents. CPS has power and the mother may not want to risk losing the child to the system. However I am still questioning the boyfriend aspect, he has 3 kids and none under his care, is this perhaps a ploy to ditch this kid as well? You know some males (not men) don’t want to deal with kids they did not contribute to if you get my meaning.

    Right now contact family law, contact the DA, Contact somebody that can direct them, be relentless, if you go to the welfare office there are lots of people as well as with CPS where you can get guidance on how to quickly address this problem and by all means make sure they are aware you are trying to keep a kid from falling victim to the system. Here in this town there is one lawyer who does a lot of free work, Maybe find one willing to give a free consultation, the first thing need is direction.We have here the Family Law Access to Justice center. They are a bunch of paralegals that help get the ball rolling and tell you the best way to address your needs. Hope this helped?

    One last question, who is this womans “In Case of Emergency Contact” as that might be the first piece of positive traction in this instance. If a person is given authority in case of an emergency a judge may be more likely to grant temporary custody.

    • M E McMahon says:

      Thanks, my friend, for the information. I’m passing this all on to the grandparents tomorrow. Good point on the in case of emergency contact…never would have thought of that!

  6. tric says:

    I am of no help to you at all. Except to say I am thinking of you and if anything comes out of this it would appear this little boy is in the wrong home. Hopefully this situation will bring it to a head and give his Dad the chance to fight to look after him. So sorry.

  7. Rob says:

    I totally agree with the other commenter. I have nothing to offer beyond the other comment, except for a link to a Baker Act Manual, which explains the Act. Maybe you have already done this.

    My understanding about the Baker Act is that it is for evaluation, not permanent commitment, unless the admitted person needs help.

  8. This is a very distressing situation. I pray that everything will work out for everyone.

  9. Patty O says:

    I know nothing about the laws there, or this type of situation, but I will definitely include them all in my thoughts and prayers. Especially this poor little boy. I can’t imagine how scared and sad he must be. Hugs. to all.

  10. JayNine says:

    I will PASS this on to whoever i know and can find within my WP Family and friends re-blogging for all help for the family ok xox love and blessings jeanine

  11. I am republishing this to my followers. I know grandparents rights vary from state to state. In most cases a hospitalization like this is going to get the ball rolling with child services. While the system is usually convoluted finding and making connection with the team assigned to the child can open many doors.

    • M E McMahon says:

      Thank you. My hopes are that child services will be forced into the situation since presently, they are dragging their feet. I don’t understand and wonder who is protecting this child’s rights?

  12. Reblogged this on Lillie-Put and commented:
    Do you have any input.

  13. My heart breaks for them. This whole story just has me near tears.
    My best advice is just have them go through the courts & their has to be some sort of social worker or somebody somewhere that can help.

    I know the laws are a little different in Florida from up north here but I know someone whose grandparents got custody when they were younger & she lives in Florida. They did it through the courts.

    I really hope they find the help they need. Keep us updated.

  14. I have nothing to offer that will be of any assistance but the WP community will, I’m sure. This has me feeling overwhelmingly sad and angry at the same time. All the very best in your quest to help. ♥

    • M E McMahon says:

      Thanks, Kelly. The response has been overwhelming and so helpful. I’m giving all to the Grandparents today and I’m sure they will want to thank everyone also!

  15. It appears you are getting good advice to consult a family law specialist. I will pray that God intervenes swiftly. Peace be unto you in thius troubling time. God is in control.

  16. TamrahJo says:

    In Colorado, guardian ad litems are assigned by the courts to look out for the best interests of the child – I would suggest the grandparents work through the local court system to find if such resources are available in their area.

    If no resources exist, I would then recommend a visit to a different attorney and a firestorm of social/media support – – – People (and children) can only fall through cracks in the system when there is silence.

    Best wishes.

  17. Debby says:

    I can offer my prayers for God’s speed in resolving this situation. Lord, I am standing in the gap for this little boy and his grandparents. Lord, I know you know the whole story from beginning to the end. Please comfort this little boy and let him feel your arms wrapped around him tonight and every night until he is with his grandparents. Lord, I ask that you give the grandparents peace that only you can give. I pray for guidance for all involved and that you bring the right people into their pathway to help facilitate temporary custody to the grandparents as soon as possible. Thank you, Lord, for you turn all things into good for those that love you! Amen and Amen!!!

  18. Not quite 40 says:

    I have passed the link to this blog to the only legal person I know in the US. And am praying for all involved.

  19. teriander says:

    Hopefully this situation is improving for the grandparents – I see you’re getting a lot of helpful tips and exposure. I can add that Florida does – or at least did for a long time – have a guardian ad litem program. My late MIL was one. It was her job to represent the child’s best interests in the courts and in the system. She worked with but was independent of family members, social workers, lawyers, etc. The person with no vested interest on one side or the other – just in ensuring the child is where he/she best belongs.

    One other thing: my son was recently hospitalized in a simliar fashion. The situation is different: he’s 15, had gone into a major depression and was a danger to himself. He recognized this and was a willing participant. He stayed for 15 days while they worked through a few medications to find one that helped. He’s home now and doing much better. The system – and the facility, while not plush by any means – was exactly where he needed to be and gave him the feelings of safety and security we couldn’t at home during his acute phase. HOWEVER, at one point, when it seemed like he should be discharged and the hospital was balking, we asked about taking him home against orders and were informed that since we signed to commit him to care, we’d need a court to intervene to get him out against orders. It was very difficult to have someone inform me I didn’t have control over my son’s care! The systems may feel totally unfair – and is definitely being used against the grandparents in this case – but the safeguards are there for a reason. I hope that things are turning around for this family and that poor child.

    • M E McMahon says:

      The major problem the grandparents have is the inability to communicate with the child, their daughter or their grandson’s caretakers. This is so frustrating and hurtful. Thanks for you’re good wishes and if any thing new comes along, I’ll be updating all the wonderful people like you who have tried to help!

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