In America, a growing number of grandparents are raising their grandchildren — but not without consequences or compromises. This discussion guide shares information and ideas aimed at enhancing support for grandparents who have stepped back into the main caregiver role. It is part a series by the Association of Small Foundations called Investing in Strategies to Serve Vulnerable Children and Families, which the Annie E. Casey Foundation funded.
Three no-cost ways organizations can support grandparent caregivers are to: 1) provide space at your office for grandparent support meetings; 2) call stakeholders together to discuss this topic in-depth; and 3) post a resource list online.
Help the Helpers
In the absence of formal custody arrangements, caregiving grandparents can have trouble navigating basic scenarios, such as enrolling their grandchild in school or health benefits. One way to help? Support nonprofits that are working to enhance access to legal services for these families.
A Mental Break
Grandparents who are raising grandchildren are more likely to be depressed relative to their non-caregiving counterparts. Despite this fact, caregiving grandparents may struggle to receive the behavioral health support services that they need — especially if they are parenting outside the formal foster care system.
A disproportionate percentage of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren without parents present are black. In 2001, 614,600 children — 43.9% of all grandchildren in this family arrangement — were black.
Statements & Quotations
Almost one-third of children cared for by their grandparents live in poverty, but only 17% receive public assistance and only 18% receive food stamps.
Although some grandparents care for grandchildren under the auspices of the foster care system, most do not. If even half the children raised by grandparents and other relatives were to enter the formal foster care system, taxpayer costs would increase by more than $6.5 billion per year.
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