Skip to main content.

Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren, a National Issue that Deserves More Coverage

Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren, a National Issue that Deserves More Coverage

Picture of Harriet Hodgson

In 2007 my twin grandchildren lost both of their parents in separate car crashes. Suddenly, and without any warning, my husband and I were GRGs -- grandparents raising grandchildren. When I searched the Internet for help, I found general books about grandparenting, but few about grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Several resources looked like encylopedias. I didn't need an encylopedia; I needed practical information to help me make it to the next hour, the next day, the next week, and beyond. On a statistical basis, my husband and I knew there were other GRGs in the community, but we never met them. Our grandchildren were 15 years old when they moved in with us and are 20 1/2 now. We have yet to meet another "grandfamily" like ours.

The twins (one boy, one girl) graduated from high school with honors, received college scholarships, are on the Dean's List, and incoming college juniors. As the years passed, I collected information about grandparents raising grandchildren and finally wrote a book about the issue. Why should you write about it?

The first answer is numbers and the statistics are startling. According to an AARP website report, "About GrandFacts," 5.8 million children in our nation live with their grandparents. Two million more children live with other relatives. Millions of grandparents -- more than 2.5 million of them -- are caring for their grandchildren. These are the GRGs we know about and there may be more.

The health and welfare of children is another reason to cover this issue. As a GRG, my role is to protect and nurture the next generation. This is essential to the survival of our family and, in the long run, the survival of our nation. Unfortunately, many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren live in isolation. "They lack information about the range of support services, rsources, programs, benefits, laws and policies available to help them successfully fulfill their caregiving role," AARP explains.

You may obtain state-by-state statistics from the AARP website. Additional information may be obtained from the National Center for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren at Georgia State University. The local senior center and elder network, if your community has one, should also be able to provide information. Statistics are good, but Judy and Joe Average remember stories best. This is where you come in, for there are countless stories to tell. 

The stories you write will help millions of children, and their loving grandparents, have better lives. If you haven't written about this issue, I hope you will. If you've already written a story about it, I hope you will write another. We need to keep this issue in the spotlight.

Image by McBeth via Flickr


Picture of <span class="username">Guest (not verified)</span>

We as well are raising our grandson, only our situation is due to our daughters mental ability to handle the children due to her mintal illness Bipolar. We have had our grandson for three years with agreement from his mother. However as time goes by we wonder if she will ever be able to handle him, but we have bonded at this point and not willing to give him back easily. However laws prevail his and our desires.
A group of grandfamilies in our community are forming an orgenization that is reviewing grandparets rights and the issues they are facing with custedy of their gandchildren. Trying to work through the broken system and finding one another. We are Kinsfolk Unite to Protect and Cherish Kin (PAC-Kin).
View our website We are a young organization trying to reach out to others.

Leave A Comment


Soaring out-of-pocket costs, rising premiums, and shaky insurance exchanges raise urgent questions this election season. What policies might address these problems, and how do the presidential candidates’ health plans differ? This webinar will give an overview of each candidates’ policy prescriptions and provide reporters with crucial context for covering one of the election’s most important but overlooked issues.

The 2017 California Fellowship, for California-based journalists only, will be held March 5-9, 2017 in Los Angeles. This Fellowship will focus on vulnerable populations and access to care and health care reform and innovation. We also take an in-depth look at how community conditions influence individuals' prospects for health. Each Fellow receives a $1,000 stipend to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious Fellowship project on a California health issue, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow. Deadline to apply is Dec. 1.  For more information, go here.


Member Activities

Anna Romano has shared a blog post

Read it.

Earl Reser's profile has been updated

Connect with Earl Reser

R. Jan Gurley has shared a blog post

Read it.

Ruth Rogers commented on a post

Join the conversation.

Kellie Schmitt has shared a blog post

Read it.
More Member Activities

Follow Us



CHJ Icon