Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

According to AARP, currently more than 2.4 million grandparents have taken on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Of these, 29% are African American 17% Hispanic/Latino; 2% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 3% Asian and 4% White. 34%live in households without the children’s parents present; 71% are under 60 years of age; 19% live in poverty.

The reasons for grandparents becoming caretakers are many. Perhaps the children’s parents are working or in school. More often, however, there are more serious issues, including substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, mental or physical illness, divorce, abandonment, death, and incarceration.

As an increasing number of grandparents commit to kinship caretaking, the demand for support and information about their special challenges is also growing. There are many questions that need to be answered.

What are the legal issues involved? Is it better to become a legal guardian, seek custody, become a foster parent or adopt?

Is financial assistance available? What government programs can help? What about income tax credits?

Will it be necessary to move? If, so is there any special housing for grandparents raising grandchildren?

How to explain to grandchildren about their parents?
Is legal custody needed to enroll a grandchild in school?
Is help available to pay for a grandchild’s medical bills?
Are there any support groups for grandparents?
What resources are available?

Answers to these questions and further information can be found on the AARP website and other websites.

If you are a grandparent caring for a grandchild, we would like to hear from you.

1 comment:

Kim Croisant said...

Yes, I am. My husband and I are raising our youngest grandchild. He will turn 2 this month. We are very happy. See my blog if you'd like.