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More Grandparents raising grandkids, new study finds

Many Brazos County households may have celebrated Grandparents Day this past Sunday. A recent study found that over a ten year period as many as 60 percent of grandparents across this country serve as the primary caregivers to their grandchildren. Of this group, 70 percent provided care for at least two years or longer. These figures are from a University study based on a survey involving more than 13,000 people aged 50 years or older from the National Institute on Aging. One surprising, or perhaps not so surprising fact from the study is that grandparents with less education and less income, or from a minority group are more likely to take on the role as caregiver for their grandchildren.

According to census data, 8 percent of grandparents share their household with a grandchild and 2.7 million grandparents provide for the majority of their grandchildren's care requirements. That is an increase from the 2006 figure of 2.4 million. A Census survey also found that grandparents are the primary child care provider for 30 percent of working moms with children under the age of five. All of this support comes at a price as some 60 percent of these grandparents are still in the workforce.

The University of Chicago study revealed that social services are looking to family members in greater frequency to care for children whose parents are unable to. All of these figures could implicate public policy as more and more grandparents are in need of day care assistance as they adjust to the obligations included in being a parent, grandparent and employee all at the same time. The study also found that Hispanic and African-American grandparents more than whites are likely to start or continue a multi-generational home or start a "skipped generation" home in which the grandchild's parents are not involved.

As more and more grandparent's take on the role of primary caregiver to their grandkids, whether due to the financial hardships of the parents or some other reason such as death, drug abuse, incarceration or divorce, these grandparents may wish to solidify their relationship with their grandkids through legal means. A legal guardianship may also provide grandparents with greater resources, including medical services and other needed support to assist them in the raising of their grandchildren.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Study Finds Child Care Assistance Growing," Sept. 9, 2012

Our law firm assists families with a wide range of family law issues, including grandparents' rights and legal guardianships, similar to the situations discussed in today's post.

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