Archive | June 2008

Nichelle Mitchem Discusses GrandRally 2008

National GrandRally–Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Washington DC

May 7, 2008

Many of today’s grandparents have become full-time caregivers for their grandchildren. United States Census 2000 indicates that 4.5 million of our nation’s poorest children reside in grandparent-headed households and that number is escalating rapidly. Data indicates that approximately one-third of these children have no parent present in the home. The number of children in grandparent-headed households has increased 30 percent since 1990. Further, the literature on this phenomenon suggests that there are probably many more children in informal care arrangements residing with their grandparents than the data can capture.

AARP indicates that the majority of grandparents rearing grandchildren are between ages 55 and 64. Approximately 20 to 25 percent are 65 or older. While grandparent-headed families cross all socio-economic levels, these grandparents are more likely to live in poverty than are other grandparents.  AARP materials also state that there are eight times more children in grandparent-headed homes than in the foster care system.

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.

Grandparent raising grandchildren traveled to Washington, DC, from 27 states for the 3rd National GrandRally to meet and make their voices heard in support of the needs of kids and their caregivers.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art