Grandparents and Kin Raising Children
In the United States, over 2.4 million grandparents are responsible for the day-to-day care of over 2.5 million grandchildren whose parents are absent, according to 2000 Bureau of Census information.
Grandparents and kin who are raising their children face many problems not encountered by younger parents. For example, their dreams of relaxation and freedom from work may be lost. Also, they feel isolated from friends who no longer have children at home. They may feel guilt or resentment toward their children. In addition, grandparents raising grandchildren frequently face significant financial burdens, 19% of which live in poverty. Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) provides some relief. Relative caregivers are eligible to receive MFIP child-only payments on behalf of the child.
The children also have to deal with problems. They often have physical and/or mental problems as a result of parental drug and alcohol abuse. Most have emotional problems as a result of their separation from their parents. Some children’s parents drift in and out of their lives, causing confusion and disruption. Some children are embarrassed when their peers tease them because they are being cared for by older adults. A large number are also behind academically because they’ve missed school. These children may have a hard time concentrating because they constantly worry about their parents. They also worry that they will be abandoned again, this time by their grandparents or kin. Raising grandchildren is an extraordinary task. For emotional support, grandparents have often found help from their faith affiliation. There are resource agencies for grandparents who are raising grandchildren in Minnesota. These include:
- legal services
- county human service agencies
- county welfare agencies
- non-government Social Service agencies
- grandkin support groups
- information and referral services
- mental health associations and collaboratives
For additional information on Kinship Care, visit the Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association.
Booth, C. (2002). First steps: Getting started raising relatives’ children. Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association.