Grandparents in Barbour County Fighting For Rights - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Grandparents in Barbour County Fighting For Rights

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It's often difficult to keep families together, but some local grandparents are doing what they can to help that cause.

Many grandparents in the area say they are unable even to visit their grandchildren and refuse to sit by and wait any longer.

Valerie Wilson came to downtown Philippi after two of her grandchildren were taken from her home, despite two others being allowed to stay. Wilson said she will fight to get her family back, but if that doesn't work, she wants to be able to see them as they grow.

"I lost two of my grandchildren on the 22nd of August, and even if I never get those children returned back into my home, I still would like to be able to be a part of their lives," Wilson said.

She's working with Patty Butcher to get that right for grandparents, but many are still ending up in foster homes. With 4,000 children and only 400 homes for them, they may not find a home immediately.

"So they're putting them in institutions. They're in children's homes. I was in a children's home, I know how that is. I was probably just going on seven years old, and we were in there for two years," Butcher said.

Butcher said that's an experience she doesn't want children to go through unnecessarily. But in the meantime, other grandparents are losing their rights to their grandchildren, like Rosemarie Cathell, who signed Wilson's petition for grandparent's rights today to help other families stay together, unlike a part of hers.

"I would just want to see other grandparents have the right to be able to be with their grandchildren," Cathell said.

Butcher plans to work with Wilson and others across the area to see that change happen in the state legislature.

"I'm hoping to see them take that into the Legislatures and do something. Revise it, enforce what we have, and if they don't then we're just going to go forward, and in the spring, we're going to start back over again," Butcher said.

Butcher has made some headway in their fight, too.

She and other concerned grandparents will meet with government officials next week in Charleston to try to drum up further support before the state legislature returns to session.

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