Tag Archive | parents

Kinship Care: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandfather Reading

Grandparents and Granddaughter

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.

Research data indicates that in New York, there are 297,239 children living in grandparent-headed households which constitutes 6.3% of all the children in that state. Twenty-eight percent of these grandparents live in households without the children’s parents present. 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.

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: AIDS, abandonment, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, death, divorce, incarceration, 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.

women of color

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.

Sources: Children’s Defense Fund website, AARP’s Grandparent Information Center website, US Census Bureau, and Generations United website.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Youth

child praying

Over 15 million children in our nation live in homes where there has been at least one incident of domestic violence in the past year, and seven million children live in families where severe partner violence has occurred. Data indicates that 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home. Growing up in abusive household can pose a threat to not only the child’s physical health but his mental health as well.

Research indicates that the non-abusive parent is often one the most important protective factors in the lives of children who witness domestic violence. All women, children, and men have the right to live in a safe environment and to conduct their lives without emotional, physical or sexual abuse or the fear of abuse.

Often, one of the greatest concerns for battered women is the affect of living in a violent home environment on children. In some instances, the domestic becomes so severe that women with children leave their homes without a place to go. Research indicates that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness. In a 2007 report by the United States Conference of Mayors, thirty-nine percent of the city leaders who were surveyed identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness among households with children.

Victims of domestic violence experience difficulty finding housing. There simply are not sufficient beds to house all the battered women and their children seeking shelter. The U.S. Conference of Mayors report indicated that city leaders turn persons experiencing homelessness away from shelters and transitional housing because of lack of capacity all or some of the time. Not only do battered women experience challenges in securing a bed in a shelter, they also often have difficulty securing a safe, decent, affordable apartment.

Domestic violence thrives on apathy. It can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. How you can help? Advocate for increased funding for domestic violence programs and public housing.

Sources:United States Conference of Mayors. Center for Diseaese Control & Prevention (CDC), National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. McDonald, Renee, Ernest N. Jouriles, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, et al. 2006. Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner-Violent Families; Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Women Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154; U.S. Conference of Mayors. 2007. A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 23-City Survey. Washington, DC.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Legally Confronting Bullying Conduct

asian lawyers

In response to the increasing number of deaths associated with bullying, there have been anti-bullying laws enacted across the country. Forty-four (44) states and the District of Columbia have enacted anti-bullying laws. Seven states have criminal sanctions which attach to bullying. States have created systems to investigate claims of cyber bullying that help police and school officials to better ascertain the circumstances of each occurrence and prosecute or punish the culprits to the fullest extent of the law.

The law enforcement community has responded to this growing phenomenon by seeking to diligently enforce the anti-bullying laws and working with the community to raise awareness about this pressing problem. Additionally, students, parents, educators, administrators, some elected officials and other concerned citizens have been advocating for better laws to address this growing problem. Their collective advocacy efforts have been relatively successful nationwide.

After the death of Tyler Clementi, New Jersey enacted an “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights”. New Jersey’s recently enacted “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” is intended to eliminate loopholes in the state’s first anti-bullying law, enacted in 2002, that encouraged school districts to set up programs to combat bullying but did not mandate it. The new law requires training for most public school teachers, administrators and other employees on how to spot bullying and mandates that all districts form a school safety team to review complaints. School districts will be graded by the state on their efforts to combat the problem.

Under the Anti Bullying Bill of Rights, administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying will be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees will also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school. The effective implementation of this law should serve to provide children and youth with a sense of safety and freedom from being intimidated or harassed.

The Obama administration has joined the efforts to combat bullying. His administration is directing resources for the express purpose of reducing bullying in schools and to raising awareness around its ramifications, and, of course, to countering its negative impact. Toward that end, the White House convened a conference on preventing bullying, on Thursday, March 11, 2011. The Obama administration launched of a new website, http://www.stopbullying.gov, devoted to bullying prevention. There are other resources available to combat bullying including but not limited to: the Cyberbullying Research Center website.

The Cyberbullying Research Center website provides information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyber bullying among adolescents. The Center’s overarching goal is to bring sound research about cyber bullying to the forefront; and serve as a clearinghouse of information concerning the use and misuse technology by adolescents. (Cyberbullying Research Center).

For further information on cyber bulling, there are several websites you can visit including but not limited: http://www.fightcrime.org; http://www.bullypolice.org; http://www.healthline.com; http://www.cyberbullying.us; http://www.stopbullying.org; http://www.stopbullying.gov; http://www.isafe.org ; and others.

Source(s): §2 – C.18A:37-13.1 §1 – C.18A:37-13.2 §16 – C.18A:37-15.3 §§17; http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/AL10/122_.PDF. Fight Crime.org; Bully Police USA, Inc.; Healthline.com; Politics Daily; MyFoxPhilly.com;NJ.com; Cyber Research Center; Stop Bullying, Inc.; i-Safe, Inc.; “NJ Assembly, Senate Passes “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights’ in Wake of Tyler Clementi’s Death” November 22, 2010, NJ.com; “Rutgers Student Tyler Clementi Commits Suicide After Video Voyeurism”, October 5, 2010, Star Ledger.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Mothers Day 2013

Pregnant Mom

Mothers Day 2013 is fast approaching. In the United States, Mother’s Day has been celebrated on the second Sunday of May for almost eighty years. This wildly popular annual holiday seeks to recognize the positive contributions that mothers have made and continue to make in the lives of their children. Not only is Mother’s Day celebrated in the United States, it is also a national holiday in several other countries including but to limited to: Mexico, Canada, South America, Japan, and China.

Every year, children and adults in countless countries seek ways to honor their mother for giving them life, direction, hope, and love. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant. Like dining out, the giving of cards, flowers, and other gifts are also very popular methods for honoring your mother on Mother’s Day.

An emerging trend on Mother’s Day is to give your time or financial support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for indigent children, youth, and adults. In this particularly challenging financial period in our nation’s history, nonprofits are called upon to serve an ever increasing number of families in crisis. This Mother’s Day, in honor of your mother, please consider providing much needed support to nonprofits serving indigent children, youth, and families in crisis. Very Happy Mother’s Day!

Sources: Wikipedia. National Restaurant Association.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Foster Care Awareness Month

Scared Child

When thinking of the month of May, for many it evokes thoughts of spring flowers, rain showers, and Mother’s Day. May and Mother’s Day also reminds some of the increasing number of children in foster care that are in need of the support of a caring adult. In 1988, at the urging of Senator Strom Thurmond and the National Foster Care Association, President Bush signed a proclamation designating May as National Foster Care Awareness Month.

Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to not only raise the visibility of the experiences of the children and youth in the foster care system but also the urgent need for more foster and adoptive parents. Hopefully, this month long awareness campaign encourages citizens from every walk of life to get involved with the life of a child in the foster care system. You should consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent, volunteer, or mentor to a child. Every child deserves a safe, happy, and loving family. Children and youth in the foster care system especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.

For information on what you can do to help the children who are waiting for a foster family contact your local state agency. To obtain information about events being held in your area during National Foster Care Awareness Month, visit National Foster Care Awareness Month website at http://www.fostcaremonth.org. If you are considering providing a long-term home for an abused or neglected child, you may want to visit several of the adoption websites such as http://www.childwelfare.gov, http://www.adoption.com, and http://www.adoptuskids.org.

Source(s): http://www.childwelfare.gov, http://www.adoption.com, http://www.adoptuskids.org, and http://www.adoption.about.com. Photo credit Microsoft Clip Art

The Impact on Children Being Raised In Single Parent-Headed Households

Pregnant Mom

Parents play an integral role in the development of their children either directly or indirectly. In recognition of the important roles played by parents in the lives of their children, we honor and celebrate mothers in the month of May on Mother’s Day and fathers in the month of June on Father’s Day. This year, Mother’s Day was held on Sunday, May 12th, 2013, and Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16th, 2013.

Each year, for the past thirty (30) years, in the United States, on the third Sunday in the month of June, we honor and celebrate the contributions that fathers make in the lives of their children. Dr. Sigmund Freud is reported to have said that, he could not think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.

For a growing number of American children, they have not known the love, protection, and guidance of a father. Social science research has shown the devastating impact of fatherless homes on the lives children. Data indicates that children in fatherless homes experience more major challenges in life than those who grow up with a father at home. The following statistics on children in fatherless homes are alarming and should give any father pause when thinking about his children.

“Incarceration Rates. “Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families…those boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated — even when other factors such as race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant.” (Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University cited in “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.)

Suicide. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census).

Behavioral Disorders. 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (United States Center for Disease Control).

High School Dropouts. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.).

Educational Attainment. Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families. (N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, American Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991).

Juvenile Detention Rates. 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988).

Confused Identities. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely than those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).

Aggression. In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.” (N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

Achievement. Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. (One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).

Delinquency. Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married. (Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994).

Criminal Activity. The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families. Source: A. Anne Hill, June O’Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993”[i].

If you want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and youth in homes where the fathers are absent, you can support the very necessary work of nonprofit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and/or Boys and Girls Club. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a 100 year history of providing quality youth mentoring services that have proven to have a measurable impact in the lives of: the youth served, their families and their community.

Boys and Girls Club’s mission is to “…enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”. Every day, these agencies are changing the perspectives of children and enabling them to see the world around them in a more positive light. With that newfound point of view, they can see their potential more clearly and dream bigger about their future. Get involved in a child’s life.

Sources: Boys and Girls Club’s website. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ website. Indystar.com. “Father’s absence takes heavy toll on children”, Editorial, June 18, 2011. “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America”. Wayne Parker, About.com Guide.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art.

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[i] “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America”. Wayne Parker, About.com

Informal Foster Care System: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

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.

Research data indicates that in New York, there are 297,239 children living in grandparent-headed households which constitutes 6.3% of all the children in that state. Twenty-eight percent of these grandparents live in households without the children’s parents present. 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.

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: AIDS, abandonment, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, death, divorce, incarceration, 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

Sources: Children’s Defense Fund website, AARP’s Grandparent Information Center website, US Census Bureau, and Generations United website.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art