Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
The Source of the Problem
Many older American adults are faced with being a child caregiver again. Grandparents have always responded to help care for their grandkids in an emergency. Why is this so much more common?
Parental substance abuse, incarceration and death of a parent are among the many reasons grandparents take in their grandkids.
But two crises in particular have forced a spike in recent years. COVID is one. “Tragically, at least 140,000 children were orphaned by the pandemic and are now living with grandparents or next of kin,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa). “2.7 million children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives who have often stepped up unexpectedly stretching their resources and with little time to prepare.”
The other crisis is the opioid epidemic. America’s opioid problem greatly increased the pressure on grandparents to take over responsibility for children. Says Susan Collins (R-ME), “I first got interested in this issue when I started seeing so many grandparents in Maine who were raising very young children. In almost every case, the parent of the child had a crisis with drug addiction or had been incarcerated.”
Now these grandfamilies are faced with the challenge of raising little ones, often on fixed incomes and unexpectedly.