"Excuse me", I said, "but who are you and how are you related to the baby?" It turned out they were the maternal grandmother and aunt of the baby.
" May I ask why you're here, and where the mom is?"
"She's in jail", the grandmother said quietly.
Unsure of what to say next - it's not often we have to reply to the statement that someone's in jail -I finally asked "What's she in jail for?"
The grandmother paused, and finally said, with a mixture of sheepishness and frustration, "Lots of things."
Clearly, a rapid consult with our social worker was needed, and fortunately after a bit of checking, we were able to send the baby home with grandmother. A fair number of our kids are raised by their grandmothers, because their moms are not up to the task, and I often wonder if that's a good thing. Many people seem reassured by the grandmothers' maturity and experience with babies. But aren't these grandmothers the same ones who raised the mother who is now deemed unable to care for her child? Do we have any assurance that she'll do a better job with this child?
Of course not. But it's a safe haven, and that, today, is the best we can get for many kids.