Those in charge of protecting children should pay attention when a grandparent reports a child in danger. That's my conclusion after reading about three different cases in which warnings from a grandparent were ignored. In one of the most heartbreaking cases, the grandparents of Elizabeth Velasquez reported injuries that included two broken legs. Elizabeth died weeks later.
It's true that grandparents can get involved in family in-fighting, especially in the case of divorce. Maybe there have even been some cases where grandparents have made false reports of child abuse in order to influence the outcome of custody battles. But I am sure that these are far outweighed by the number of grandparents who report legitimate concerns about their grandchildren. After all, grandparents are often privy to information that others do not have. In the case of Elizabeth Velasquez, the grandparents often cared for her on weekends and thus were in a position to suspect the abuse.
In a couple of different places on my website, I remind grandparents that they are obligated by law and by morality to report instances of abuse and neglect. I've taken flak from parents who see me as encouraging grandparents to report them to the authorities. I'll admit that such reports often causes irrevocable schisms in a family. But a loving grandparent has no other choice.