Grandmother fights for custody of own grandson

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A Kansas grandmother says there's no reason why she shouldn't be able to have custody of her own grandson, but for some reason, the state won't let her have him. Patricia Madison says she is approved by the state of Kansas to be a foster parent, and she's fostered many children over the last five years. But for some reason she's not allowed to take in her own grandson.

This custody battle has been going on for about a year and a half now. But Madison says she turned to fox 4 for help because she fears her grandchild will never be returned to his family now that the child's foster parents are interested in adopting him.

For more than a year, the only way Madison has been able to see her almost four year-old grandson Tristen is with supervised visits. She used to see him weekly, but then it was changed to once a month.

"When I do see him I really don't know if that's the last time," she said tearfully.

Madison says about a year and a half ago her grandson was taken away from her son and put into state care. For awhile Tristen was placed with Madison's daughter, but Madison says KVC, the agency that oversees foster care, took the child away. Madison says it was because they told her daughter that she worked too much.

"She works 40 hours a week, I think that's normal," Madison says, "you have to work to pay your bills."

Madison says she's made it clear from the start she wanted to take in her grandson.

"I told them I wanted him placed in my care because I had been working with KVC keeping their foster kids," she said, "and they told me 'no.'"

Madison says she's never been told exactly why she can't have Tristen. At one point she says KVC told her it was because of an abuse allegation from 1998. But letters from the state dated last year and last week both confirm that Madison is not on the Abuse and Neglect Registry and is not barred from working with kids.

"I want all of this to be investigated," Madison said, "this is not a way of putting families together this is not the way it's supposed to be."

Madison keeps the bedroom ready for her grandson to come home but she's losing hope, and fears that her grandson's foster family will be allowed to adopt Tristen.

"If he's taken from me, I will never be the same," she said, "I love him and I miss him and I hope soon he'll be back with us again."

Both KVC and the state's Department of Children and Families say they can't comment on specific cases. But KVC says it does place kids with family members whenever possible. The agency adds that it works with the state and the courts to determine what is best for the child.

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