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More Grandparents are Raising their Grandchildren

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

Everyone had a different experience growing up.  Whether you had one parent, two parents, or another legal guardian, your childhood was unique.  Recently, there has been a rise in a new kind of family unit, one where grandparents are the primary caregivers of their grandkids.

A new research study by US2010, a project that is reviewing changes in American society, uncovered this news.  The ongoing research is managed by sociologist John Logan and funded by Brown University and the Russell Sage Foundation.  Their data showed that over 7.5 million children in the United States lived with their grandparents in 2011.  That averages to one in every ten children across our nation.

The factors that have lead to this increase over the last 25 years are vast.  AARP expert on multi generational and family issues, Amy Goyer, cited the recession as the primary cause.  It is mutually beneficial for many generations to share housing costs and other expenses.  Grandparents are cheap and easy babysitters that can allow parents to work longer hours and keep a better portion of their paychecks.  There are other contributing factors such as:

  • Divorce
  • Unemployment/ Poverty
  • Death of the Parent
  • Neglect, Abandonment and Abuse of the child
  • Incarceration of the Parent, and
  • Teen Pregnancy

Having a grandparent raise their grandchildren can cause many issues.  The home may be too small, unsafe for children, or have other problems.  Grandparents may not be capable of raising a child due to health issues or living on a fixed income.  There are also legal concerns that must be settled to provide the best care for the children.  It is extremely difficult to enroll children in school or have them receive health care without showing guardianship or legal custody.

The state of Illinois has a program called the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program, which started in 1996.  They can provide information about services, counseling and other supplemental services designed to assist in short term care emergencies.  If you are a grandparent raising your grandkids, it is important to have legal custody.  Contact an experienced family law attorney in Arlington Heights today.

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