Increasing Numbers of Illinois Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Posted on in Child Custody

Last month Illinois observed Grandparents Day, and the Illinois Department of Aging took the opportunity to raise awareness of programs and resources available to grandparents serving as the main caregivers for their grandchildren.

Currently over 200,000 kids in Illinois reside in grandparent-headed households, and that number is on the rise. More and more grandparents are being considered the "primary caregivers" of their grandchildren. The state considers a primary caregiver to be the person the child lives with and whom is responsible for meeting the child's basic needs.

The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is a state program that promotes awareness and provides resources and support services for older caregivers. The acting director of the Illinois Department on Aging explained the program's purpose, "It's an important decision to take on the role as primary caregivers for their grandchildren when the parents are unable to. These grandparents need to know there's somewhere to turn for help during this additional round of parenthood."

Grandparents' Rights

When a child's parents are going through challenging times, and are unable to care and provide for their child, grandparents may be able to pursue a guardianship. A guardianship gives grandparents the legal authority to act in the best interests of the child. In some situations, grandparents' rights may be asserted for grandparents to be allowed to see their grandchildren or establish a visitation schedule.

Since grandparents are not automatically entitled to these rights these cases can often be complex. Therefore, the advice and knowledge of an experienced family law attorney can be extremely valuable.

Source: The Randolph County Herald Tribune, State program helps grandparents raising grandchildren, Jim Beers, 13 September 2011

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