Grandparents raising grandchildren is on the rise

In Texas and across the nation, more grandparents are raising their grandchildren. The U.S. census figures show the number of children in this situation more than doubled from 2000 to 2010.

Parents may be struggling with issues like substance abuse and imprisonment. Sometimes, they may be dealing with mental illness or financial instability. Whatever the cause, the number of grandchildren being cared for by their grandparents has grown from 2.4 million to 4.9 million in a single decade.

Child protective service agencies remove children from their parents’ homes for various reasons, but when possible, they try to place children with relatives. Grandparents may be the most available alternative. The New Jersey Department of Child and Families is one agency that approaches child placement in this way.

Organizations around the country, such as AARP, are trying to assist grandparents with information and resources like the AARP GrandFamilies Guide, which provides information about subjects from education and finances to legal topics and more. State and federal government agencies are also trying to make a difference for grandparents by publishing resource lists. The University of Wisconsin cooperative extension makes information on subjects like child development and how to form bonds with children available to grandparents.

Grandparents who provide a home for their grandchildren may want to seek the help of a family law attorney. If child custody and grandparents’ rights issues need attention, an attorney might advise or assist family members in obtaining reasonable outcomes that are in the best interests of the child. An attorney may also be able to help grandparents draft and file the paperwork necessary to establish official custody of their grandchildren.

Source: Deseret News, “At granny’s house: More children raised by grandparents than before“, Lois M. Collins, August 05, 2014