JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Local grandmother Helen Jones is fighting to get custody of her two grandchildren who were in foster care, but said the system failed her.
Jones, who has 21 grandchildren, said her daughter may have failed the children, but she didn't.
"I love my grandkids," Jones said. "I have 21 grandkids and I love each and everyone of them."
In her apartment, you can find picture after picture of her family.
Jones fight is related to her daughter Yolanda Reed who has struggled repeatedly with substance abuse.
"I was late starting engaging on my case plan,' Reed said.
At one point Reed was homeless. Earlier this year, the state removed her children after declaring they were in danger.
"She made mistakes true enough, but the children and the rest family should not be torn apart because of the bad choices she made," she said.
Reed's two boys, ages 1 and 4, were placed in foster care. Jones could only visit them if their mother was there, and often she wasn't.
"I've been asking for these children the whole time," Jones said.
In September, a Duval County court terminated Reed's parental rights stating she had abandoned the children and had missed a court hearing. Reed said she was at court, but denied entrance to the courtroom because of what she was wearing.
In November, the court approved an order adopting the boys to another family out of foster care.
"They put in the court order that no other relative was interested in these children, which is not true, not true!," she said.
The protocol with children in foster care is reunification with family first.
Jones said before she could fill out the petition for adoption her grandchildren were adopted out.
"It hasn't even been a year and you've already fully adopted them out without even considering my family, that's what hurts," she said.
Jones said she is fighting to get her grandchildren but doesn't know where to begin.
"We want those children, we've always wanted those children," she said.
Did the system fail Helen Jones?
The case is now being reviewed to determine if the proper steps were followed.
But for context, First Coast News On Your Side team checked on what happened to the kids who are removed from a home for impending danger.
- 45.9 percent are of them are placed with relatives
-12.9 percent end up with non relatives or friends of the family
- 41.1 percent are assigned to foster care
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