The financial stress of Grandparents raising Grandchildren
Grandparents raising Grandchildren
This paper will explore the financial stress and lack of resource stress that Grandparents experience while taking care of their Grandchildren. Grandparents have always played a role in the family dynamics. Grandparents are known for taking care of their grandchildren when the parents are sick, deceased or out of town. In the past several years Grandparents are becoming the primary caregiver for their grandchildren. The parents are no longer sick or out of town, majority of the parents are either deceased, abusing drugs, or suffering from a mental illness. This has become an epidemic and a major social problem. Grandparents are suffering financially, mentally, and physically because the biological parents are no longer a part of the family structure and they have taken over the primary care of their grandchildren. This problem is nothing new but is becoming a sore eye to the public. Severity of the Problem
Grandparents who have taken on the primary role of parenting their Grandchildren usually had to take on that role immediately. Grandparents did not have any amount of time to prepare mentally, financially or physically as they would have with their own pregnancy. Majority of the time the children were taken because of the parent’s inability to care for them. There have been times where parents have been killed in accidents or passed away due to medical reasons and the grandparents had to take on the parenting role. Taking on primary care at that point is different due to the children no longer having a parent to care for them. There have also been times when the Child Welfare System has stepped in to take custody of the children due to neglect or abuse. Taking on primary care at that point is disappointing because the biological parents neglected to care for their children. Whichever way the grandparent had to step in and take on the parental role they were not initially prepared for.
There are three different types of Grandparents as caregivers: one type is the grandparent who has legal custody of their grandchild or grandchildren through the court system which is Department of Children and Family Services, secondly is the grandparent who resides in the same home as their grandchildren and take on primary care while the biological parent is present in the home, and last is the grandparent who only sees their grandchildren on the weekends or holidays. When Grandparents have legal custody of their Grandchildren/child they are able to put them on their medical insurance if needed. If they are caring for them under the foster care system the Grandparents are able to receive financial and medical assistance through the state. When a Grandparent does not have any legal custody of their Grandchild it can become a problem especially if the parent is not around. The grandparent is not allowed to sign off on any educational matters or medical treatment and at that point is when the grandparents have no other choice but to involve the state.
Conservatives estimates suggest that grandparent caregivers save taxpayers approximately 6.5 billion dollars a year in federal foster care expenditures (Murphy, 2008). These statistics show that grandparents are willing to take care of their grandchildren without placing them in the care of the state. At the same time grandparents are struggling financially taken on primary care of their grandchildren. Statistics report there are 103,717 grandparents who report that they are responsible for their grandchildren living with them and 41,328 in Chicago and 1, 576 in Rockford: 41 % of these grandparents are African American; 16% are Hispanic/Latino; 2% are Asian; and 39% are White. 28% of these grandparents live in households without the children’s parents present....