Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

It's a situation with growing numbers.  In Minnesota, it's now estimated that more than 68,000 kids (an increase of 40% since 2000) are now living under the primary care of a grandparent or some older relative.  Nationwide, more than 2.5 million children are cared for by extended family or close family friends because the biological parents are unable to do so.  Legal custody of the child may or may not be involved, and the child may be related by blood, marriage, or adoption.  This arrangement is also known as “kin care” or “relative care”. 

Grandparents (or Grandkin) may be called upon with little preparation to provide primary care for their grandchildren.  These situations can be stressful, not only for children, but for the grandparents who need to make major adjustments (social, emotional and financial) in their lives.

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 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.

Minnesota Resources for Grandparents Caregivers:

  • Senior LinkAge Line® - for information about benefits and services available at 1-800-333-2433
  • Lutheran Social Services Kinship Family Support Services – for information about legal options, financial resources, support groups, workshops and family circle conferences. 
  • LSS Warmline – for telephone support to find resources at 651-917-4640 or 1-877-917-4640
  • LawHelpMN.org - to find free legal help, access legal aid information and know your rights by law.
  • County Human Services office

National Resources for Grandparents Caregivers