When most people think of bitter custody battles in North Carolina, they envision two exes getting into heated debates in court. This certainly does happen but there is a new type of custody battle taking center stage in courtrooms across America. The opioid crisis has forced many grandparents to take care of their grandchildren. 

While some have amicable agreements with their adult children, others are forced to take their sons and daughters to court to fight for custody. According to PBS, there are a number of reasons this may happen, but the most common is substance abuse. One study estimated that 85% of children who live with their grandparents may do so due to their parents’ struggles with addiction. 

The U.S. News reports that several agencies have stepped in to provide grandparents with the help they need. For instance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information and support services. It helps these “returning parents” to navigate their roles in a digital era. Failure to understand digital media and how children interact with it may cause potential problems later on. 

When grandparents do go to court to get custody of their children, the reasons are varied. The U.S. News highlights one instance where a mother overdosed, leaving three children behind in the care of her parents. She was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. Both the mother and child survived. Following this, Child Services cautioned the family that failure to begin custody proceedings could cause all four children to end up in foster care. 

When grandparents and other families are unable to take the children, this is exactly what happens. This has contributed to a rise in the number of children in foster care all across the country. Grandparents who can take the children are now seeking assistance to help them navigate the local laws governing their possible rights to custody.