Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

It's a situation with growing numbers.  In Minnesota, it's now estimated that more than 71,000 kids (an increase of 100% since 1990) are now living under the primary care of a grandparent or some older relative.  Nationwide, there are more than 4.5 million children living in 2.4 million households headed by grandparents, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, marking a 30 percent climb during the past 10 years.

To meet the demand of these increasing numbers, a new support network is spreading out across the state to provide assistance to grandparents – along with other older, non-traditional parents – raising "grandkin."  Host agencies have been identified in each part of the state that corresponds to an Area Agency on Aging. Through those hosts, support groups and mentoring programs will be set up to meet the needs of parenting grandparents in that portion of the state. While that is a major focus of the grant, there are other aspects as well.  To find a host agency near you, contact the Senior LinkAge Line
® at 1-800-333-2433.  

Grandparent caregivers are real-life safety nets, keeping the children they love safe and their families together when birth parents are unable or unwilling to parent.  

Reasons for a parent's absence or unwillingness can include:

  • Substance abuse
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Death
  • Abandonment
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Incarceration
  • Divorce
  • Poverty
  • Mental Health Issues, among others

Becoming a kinship caregiver can be a challenging time as the grandparent is often faced with new expenses and the need for a larger home while living on a fixed income, and can be faced with a child that has behavioral challenges from a history of neglect.

Additional Resources:

Generations United

The Brookdale Foundation, Relatives as Parents Program

Administration on Aging