According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, more than 100,000 grandparents take care of their grandchildren in the state on a continual basis. There are a plethora of reasons why grandparents raise grandchildren, such as the death of a child’s parents and children who are victims of abuse. Other reasons include teenage pregnancies, unemployment and other financial hardships, drug abuse and incarceration.
The Illinois Department on Aging also provides helpful information concerning grandparents raising their grandchildren. According to the Department, more than five million children across America live in a household headed by their grandparents. A 2010 survey revealed that in Illinois, more than 71,000 grandparents between the ages of 30 and 59 found themselves in this position, while over 30,000 grandparents who were 60 or older were responsible for raising their grandchildren.
When it comes to raising a grandchild, grandparents may experience a number of difficulties. For example, they may not have forewarning and could struggle to raise the children in a small house. Also, grandparents who live in a residence which prohibits children may have to deal with eviction, while others may struggle with relocation and find themselves raising children in a dangerous neighborhood.
Grandparents who do not have legal custody or guardianship may struggle with school enrollment and other challenges related to a child’s education. Unfortunately, some grandparents are afraid to take legal action because they don’t want to upset a child’s parents or want to avoid litigation. However, it is vital for grandparents to understand the benefits of getting custody.