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KVC Kentucky

Grandmother Makes Difficult Decision, Keeps Grandchildren Safe

Kentucky Family Specialist

This story was written by Mary Conlee-Smith, KVC Kentucky Family Specialist. In her role, Mary provides direct services and support to help families overcome challenges.

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I recently worked with a grandmother named Kate* who had custody of her seven grandchildren, and her adult daughter also lived in her home. Her adult daughter had been experiencing issues with methamphetamine use, and Kate tried multiple times to help her get clean. Though initially reluctant to reach out for help, Kate spoke with a KVC worker who explained the services her daughter could receive to help her stop using drugs. Kate agreed to get her daughter community-based support.

As the therapeutic services were underway, the adult daughter experienced a methamphetamine relapse, which was reported to the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS). The courts required that the daughter leave the home as DCBS could not allow her to remain in the home with minor children while actively using illegal substances. When asked to leave the home, the daughter refused and Kate was faced with an extremely difficult choice.

According to DCBS, she would need to call the police to have her daughter removed from the home, or she was at risk of all seven grandchildren being removed from her home. This already painful decision was made worse by the fact that her daughter had an active warrant out for her arrest.

After speaking with Kate, I was able to help her understand that she had the ability and responsibility to make sure that her grandchildren remained safe and stayed together in her care. She called the police and had her daughter taken into custody, which demonstrated how far she’d go to keep her grandchildren safe.

Later, we received this email from an acquaintance of Kate:


Thank you! I would like to share this with you. I met with Kate a day or so ago and she has changed completely in her mood and appearance! She looks younger, feels better and is happier. She said making the KVC referral is the best thing done for her family and it has helped her so much. She was proudly telling me of her older grandchildren getting summer jobs, how communicating with them helped her understand them better and learn that they have a lot going on inside them that she did not know or think about before.

I actually believe the home services have helped her be more protective, as she never thought of the impact the adult daughter’s actions actually had on the children in the home. For her to be able to make the decision to call 911 on her own daughter was such a huge step for her. Your services have empowered her, brought her a great deal of needed confidence, and alleviated a great deal of stress from her!

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with this family and assist Kate in feeling confident enough to make the necessary decisions to keep her grandchildren safe and in her home. While it was a very difficult decision for her, in the end, it will provide the best opportunity for her grandchildren to grow and thrive.

Do you or someone you know struggle with substance use issues? Anyone can make a referral for our in-home and community-based Behavioral Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs including parents, community partners or other organizations. Our referral process is fast and easy! Learn more.

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*Name changed for privacy.