The perceived role of grandparents is often to preside over family get-togethers and have a good time with their grandchildren. Sadly, the world is more varied than the Norman Rockwell vision. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that more and more, grandchildren are living with their grandparents all of the time and that number has increased 64 percent in the last twenty years.
The report indicates that 7 million grandchildren live with their grandparents, and of those families, 2.7 million don’t included the parents of the grandchildren. For these grandparents there are many challenges to raising these children, from having enough energy to keep up with young children to attempting to stretch already thin food budgets far enough to feed everyone in the household. The Census Bureau reports 21 percent of the families are below the poverty line.
Another concern for the elderly is health. Many grandparents are old enough to suffer the frailties that naturally come with age, and they worry that the Oklahoma Child Protective Services (CPS) will come and take their grandchildren away because they are judged incapable of providing care.
The danger here is that if the grandparents lack legal guardianship of the children, there could be questions of legal responsibility related to school registration or medical care, which could eventually lead to loss of the children.
Also, the grandparents may be able to obtain additional support and services to help raise the grandchildren. Grandparents raising their grandchildren should speak with an attorney, who can work through the guardianship and custody options, to help them help their grandchildren.