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Grandparents assuming parenting roles in child custody cases

A growing number of grandparents find themselves raising their grandchildren instead of retiring to pursue hobbies and travel. Studies show that with the ever-present opioid epidemic sweeping the country, an overwhelming number of children are being removed from parents who are battling addiction problems. In California and other states, grandparents are being called upon during child custody cases to assume the parenting role.

According to a group focused on the support of intergenerational families, one-fifth of grandparents who are caring for grandchildren live at or below the poverty level. It is reported that 26 percent have a disability, and 39 percent are over 60 years old. They often skim money from retirement plans, go back to work to make ends meet, or they continue working to pay for unexpected expenses such as court and attorney costs.

To receive financial support, grandparents must apply through the Department of Public Welfare or become licensed as foster parents. Support groups and caseworkers can help them connect with social services for additional help, such as daycare, therapy and counseling, to help children adjust and cope after being taken away from their parents. Several agencies are working to introduce a package of bills granting assistance to those seeking help. Several community resources exist for seniors such as online support groups. These groups allow grandparents to share their experiences and advice.

The number of parents losing custody of their children because of opioid addiction is staggering. Across the country, approximately 2.7 million grandparents are assuming the role of caregiver for their grandchildren. Families members in California who are suffering from drug addiction may benefit from speaking with an experienced child custody attorney to determine the best course of action for everyone involved.

Source: observer-reporter.com, "Grandparents caring for grandchildren as parents battle addiction", Karen Mansfield, March 17, 2018

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