In both the U.S. and UK there are thousands of grandparents raising their grandchildren. The ages of the grandparents are generally 55 and over, and in the U.S. one quarter of the grandparents taking on this huge responsibility are over 65.
The reasons for children being raised in the home of their grandparents are varied: parent drug and alcohol use, mental illness, parents serving jail time, poverty, divorce, abuse or neglect and even military deployment can require grandparents to step in to care for the children.
Understandably, many grandparents taking on the task of raising children in their elder years suffer from extra stress and depression. There are many resources through local, state or national programs to support grandparents in need. Here are a few:
This resource is called the Grandparents Plus Support Network. It provides a program called Kinship First which sponsors local, regional and national events to support grandparents raising their grandchildren. They also sponsor parenting workshops and print a Guidance Booklet.
You’ll find a wealth of support services here. They include a searchable data base for laws related to grandparent care of grandchildren, adoption information, a caregiver stress fact sheet, medical advice and more.
Grandparents may be eligible for a variety of government-provided help programs as they raise their grandchildren. Some of these are: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplementary Social Security, the WIC feeding program and legal advice.
Take a look at the website below for more ideas: