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Support for grandparents raising grandkids

For many adults in Indiana, they can look back on their lives with fond memories of at least one grandparent who played a special part in their life and development. The love that a grandmother or grandfather has for their grandchildren is special and the bond created between these generations can enhance the lives of both parties in unique ways. In most cases, it is expected that the grandparent can provide some education and nurturing without having to bear the responsibility of actually raising a child. However, for some families a grandparent does just this as well.

Psychology Today explains that data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the percentage of U.S. households led by grandparents raising kids doubled between 1970 and 2012. By the latter year, an estimated 2.7 million homes featured children being raised by at least one grandparent.

Several things can contribute to the need for grandparents to step in to raise kids. An unexpected death or illness of a parent is one situation. Other factors may include mental health problems, alcohol or drug addiction, or even incarceration in a jail or prison.

Regardless of the reason that a grandparent must assume a parental role, the grandparent might need support and help along the way. AARP recommends people build a network to give them the assistance they need. This may include people at the children’s schools, community centers, mentoring programs or agencies that provide assistance like welfare. Neighbors, friends and other family members may also be called upon to help a grandparent balance the needs of a child with other aspects of their life.