While many grandparents are getting ready to retire, some are becoming the primary caregivers to their grandchildren. Some of these grandparents are taking over traditional parenting roles because their own child has gotten in trouble with the law, is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, or is dealing with financial problems. Some grandparents are not primary caregivers, but their child and grandchildren live in their home and they play an active role in their grandchildren’s lives. Across the Twin Cities and Minnesota, there has been an increase in grandparents gaining custody of their grandchildren.
Minnesota boasts an estimated 53,000 grandparents who live with their grandchildren and many of them are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren. While it may seem simple for a grandparent to raise a grandchild, it requires careful attention to Minnesota laws and regulations. There are also few resources or support systems for grandparents.
The Litchfield Independent Review and an official with the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) of Minnesota recommend using the Minnesota Senior Linkage Line run by the Minnesota Board of Aging. The state-wide organization provides invaluable resources to all grandparents, regardless of age. For many grandparents, there are too few resources available, causing grandparent-grandchild households to “fall through the cracks,” according to the AARP of Minnesota.
The recent economic downturn has not spared grandparents and those that are now finding themselves with custody of their grandchildren need all the help they can get. In addition to financial aid, grandparents should also work closely with an experienced family law attorney to negotiate the legal nuances of raising a grandchild.
Source: Litchfield Independent Review, “Number of grandparents raising grandchildren on rise in Minnesota,” John Michaelson, Sept. 15, 2011