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Grandparents as Parents. Introduction Unlike the image of the “extended family” so firmly rooted in our American tradition, many grandparents and other.

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Presentation on theme: "Grandparents as Parents. Introduction Unlike the image of the “extended family” so firmly rooted in our American tradition, many grandparents and other."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grandparents as Parents

2 Introduction Unlike the image of the “extended family” so firmly rooted in our American tradition, many grandparents and other relative caregivers are older individuals unexpectedly raising a second family without any extended family and community supports.

3 Introduction Over the last 25 years, there has been a 76% increase in the number of children who live in a grandparent household.

4 Introduction According to Census 2000, over 4.5 million infants, youngsters, and teenagers live in households headed by grandparents.

5 Statistics The largest group of children (51%) are under age 6. 29% are ages Adolescents, age make up 20%.

6 Statistics 2/3 of children living in grandparent households have at least one of their parents residing with them. Of the grandparent-headed families without parents present: 47% contain both grandparents 47% contain grandmothers only 6% contain grandfathers only

7 Statistics By race: White—42% African-American—36% Hispanic—17% Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native—5%

8 Statistics Most grandparent-maintained families live in the South (about 50%). 20% of care giving grandparents live in rural areas or small towns.

9 Statistics Most grandparents raising grandchildren are living on fixed incomes. Media income: $19, /3 (64%) do so without public assistance. 57% of grandmothers raising grandchildren alone have incomes below poverty level.

10 Statistics 55% of grandmothers and 47% of grandfathers are under age % of grandmothers and 15% of grandfathers are under age 45. 2/3 of grandparent-maintained families include one or both of children’s parents.

11 Factors that Account for the Increase in Grandparents and other Relatives Raising Children  Death of a parent (11%)  Unemployment  Child abuse and/or neglect (28%)  Incarceration  Abandonment  Divorce (4%) Mental health problems Alcohol and drug abuse (44%) Family violence HIV/AIDS Poverty Teenage pregnancy

12 Policy Issues That Need To Be Addressed Legal  Medical, educational and financial services may be difficult or impossible to obtain for children in their care.  Existing legal resources may be unknown or unaffordable.  Permanent subsidized options as an alternative to adoption often are unavailable.

13 Policy Issues That Need To Be Addressed Health  Prenatal drug or alcohol exposure may cause a variety of health problems for the child and make caregiving difficult.  Medical services and other specialized care may be difficult to access, especially when the caregiver does not have legal custody.

14 Policy Issues That Need To Be Addressed Education  Inability to enroll without proof of legal guardianship.  Ineligibility for transportation to another school district.  Additional fees for out of district enrollment.  Ineligibility of special needs children living with grandparent for an individual education plan.

15 Policy Issues-Education (Cont)  Children in grandparent-headed homes may be challenged in their physical, cognitive or emotional development. They are more likely to have been prenatally exposed to drugs and/or alcohol, have experienced abuse and/or neglect and have difficulties forming attachments. (Minkler & Roe, 1993, Smith & Dannison, 1998)

16 Policy Issues—Education (Cont)  Children in the care of grandparents experience higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems than do children living with biological parents. Studies have found significantly higher numbers of children from grandparent-headed homes with learning disabilities and/or mental impairment, with increased numbers repeating at least one grade in school when compared to the general population. (Sawyer & Dubowitz, 1994; Dubowitz, Feibleman, Starr & Sawyer, 1994)

17 Policy Issues Need To Be Addressed Housing  The residence may simply be too small.  Residences may have safety hazards and/or housing code violations.

18 Policy Issues Need To Be Addressed Housing  Eviction may be an issue for those who live in senior housing that excludes children.  The presence of additional children may violate private lease agreements.  Safe and affordable housing may be particularly difficult to access for low-income caregivers.

19 Psychological/Emotional Issues for Grandchildren Loss Confusion Anger Uncertainty

20 Major Life Changes Some grandparents must put off plans that have been a lifetime in the making. A sense of loss Anger Guilt Uncertainty Isolation Stress

21 Major Life Changes Some grandparents must put off plans that have been a lifetime in the making. Returning to work or spending their savings Putting off goals Facing increased physical demands Helping their grandchild adjust Learning new parenting skills

22 Resources AARP Grandparent Information Center 601 E. Street, NW Washington, DC

23 Resources Grandparents as Parents, Inc. P.O. Box 964 Lakewood, CA

24 Resources National Coalition of Grandparents, Inc. 137 Larkin Street Madison, WI

25 Book for Children (Ages 5-12) Robert Lives With His Grandparents


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