Not only in Pennsylvania but all over the country, the number of grandchildren who live with their grandparents is growing every year. AARP statistics state that more than 2.5 million grandparents are undertaking the duty of bringing up their grandchildren. Any number of reasons may arise for parents needing their children to live with grandparents. A recent report gave an account of a woman in another state who began caring for her granddaughter just after she was born.
Because of a battle with drugs, the little girl's mother did not want what she perceived as the burden of taking care of her daughter, so her mother took on the responsibility. The mother is now in jail on a murder charge, and the grandmother has legal custody of her granddaughter. It was not easy, as she did not know at first where to turn to get the legal help that was needed.
A Department of Children and Families worker in the area stated legal advice is the greatest need of many grandparents raising their grandchildren. A lot of these grandparents also face the fear that taking their children to court over custody will result in the children cutting off all access to the grandchildren these grandparents have come to love so fiercely. Other than legal guidance, the DCF offers assistance with other challenges, such as school enrollment and medical care, and work to develop interactive skills and emotional well-being. Additionally, financial hardships may be a factor for some grandparents who no longer draw a pay check other than from Social Security, which is something the DCF representative indicated the organization will examine in the near future.
Children who are allowed to live with grandparents are afforded the opportunity to stay with family instead of being placed in an already over-crowded foster system. Organizations, such as AARP, have information on area support groups where these caregivers can get answers to any questions they may have. For legal assistance, Pennsylvania residents may want to speak to a professional when striving to make the best lives possible for their young loved ones.
Source: newsherald.com, "Growing number of grandparents are raising grandchildren", Eryn Dion, April 17, 2016