Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Written by Jo Ann Kalb, Geriatric Therapist.

With families so spread out these days, many grandkids don’t see their grandparents except on holidays or periodically throughout the year. Grandparents are the ones kids can usually count on to offer that piece of candy or say “yes” when mom or dad would probably say “no”. Grandparents often brag that they get to spoil their grandkids and then send them home. But for the 2.5 million US grandparents, they have assumed the role as parents to their grandkids. Imagine — you were close to retirement age and you get a call or a knock on your door. If you do not take your grandkids they will be placed in foster care. What would you do? Grandparents assume the role as parents for many reasons. Often it is because the birth parents either cannot or will not be responsible for providing for their children. Substance abuse, neglect/abusiveness, mental illness, incarceration, or the deaths of the birth parent(s) are common reasons why grandchildren are placed in their grandparents’ care. Grandparents are the unsung heroes who take on an enormous responsibility, rearing someone else’s children often with little financial support to do so. If you are a grandparent who is rearing your grandchild, we want to hear your story.

JFCS also wants to be a support to grandparents. If you are interested in the current support opportunities that JFCS sponsors for grandparents raising grandchildren, call Jo Ann Kalb @ 452-6341, ext 335. You can also find out more about Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Groups and Lunchtime Series at our homepage!

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