The role of federal policies in supporting grandparents raising grandchildren families: The case of the U.S

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Grandparents caring for their grandchildren is among the oldest practices in child rearing with roots embedded in the traditions across many cultures. However, in recent years, the issue of “grandparents raising their grandchildren” has garnered the attention of researchers, advocates, service providers and even the popular press. Dynamic changes in family life, related social trends and child welfare policies in the United States have resulted in dramatic growth of intergenerational caregiving among this population. The 2000 United States Census shows that there are 6 million children living in grandparent- and other relative-maintained households, which represents a thirty-percent increase from the last Census. This growth has created the need for effective federal policies that support and insure the well-being of these families. This paper examines some of the reasons grandparents raising grandchildren are capturing public attention, and the growing needs for effective federal policies that support this burgeoning population. We will (1) provide a brief demographic sketch of grandparent-headed families, (2) identify some of the challenges faced by these families, and (3) explore some of the most effective federal public policies, in particular the new National Family Caregiver Support Program, which are emerging from an intergenerational agenda directed at assisting these families. We conclude by noting that the issue of “grandparents raising their grandchildren” presents a unique opportunity to develop coalitions and policies that cross sometimes rigidly defined age-based policy structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Intergenerational Relationships
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

Keywords

  • Family Caregiver Support Program
  • Generations
  • Grandparent caregiver
  • Intergenerational agenda
  • Relative/kinship care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Archaeology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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