Archive | February 2004

Nichelle Mitchem Meets with US Senator Saxby Chambliss

Nichelle Mitchem, director of operations for the National Center on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and twelve grandmothers from Georgia met with US Senator Saxby Chamblis to discuss the plight of grandparent-headed households in his state. Additionally, Nichelle Mitchem and the grandmothers participated in the GrandRally held on the lawn of the US Capitol. The GrandRally was sponsored by AARP, CWLA, and CDF.

Although the phenomenon of grandparents raising grandchildren is neither novel nor new, this emerging social issue is garnering a great deal of national attention due to its impact on the welfare of an ever increasing number of our nation’s children. The rise in the number of grandparent headed households is due to serious family problems. The reasons for the increase in grandparent headed households include but are not limited to: abandonment, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, death, divorce, incarceration, AIDS, and the parent’s lack of employment.

Caring for their grandchildren can have life altering consequences for the grandparents. Many grandparents have not planned to raise a second family or may be retired and living on a fixed income. Having sufficient income or resources to provide housing, food, clothing, medicine, and school supplies for their grandchildren may be of critical concern. Research indicates that children raised by their grandparents are more likely than children in traditional foster care to live in poverty, to have special health and educational needs, and to lack access to health care.

While grandparents have played a significant role in the lives of their grandchildren for generations, the increasing numbers of grandparents with responsibility for their grandchildren and the rise in social factors necessitating this arrangement have created millions of vulnerable families with unique needs. For further information on the topic of grandparents raising grandchildren or to get help, please call or visit the website of: AARP’s Grandparent Information Center: 202-434-2296; and Generation’s United: 202-289-3979.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art