ERIC Number: ED481100
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Understanding the Needs and Issues of Grandfamilies: A Survey of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. A Pilot Study.
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that more than five million, or 7%, of U.S. children are being raised in grandparent-headed households. In many of these homes there is no biological parent in residence, and the grandparents have taken over the role of parenting. This family structure has gained enough residence to warrant the title "grandfamilies." This study developed a survey to study the social and emotional needs of grandparents and the educational, social, and emotional needs of the children. In a pilot study, the instrument was distributed through support groups in New England and through the Internet. The first 15 responses were chosen for preliminary analysis of the first 50 variables on the initial survey version. The participants were, for the most part, educated white middle-class married women with a mean age in the early fifties. Grandparents gave a variety of reasons why their child did not parent the grandchild, with substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and incompetent parenting the most common. Many grandparents (73%) had legal custody of the child, and federal financial aid to help raise the child (children) was received by 40% of the grandparents. More than three-quarters of the grandparents were actively involved in a support group for themselves. Many grandparents agreed that their grandchildren had an attention-deficit disorder, and many thought that the educational needs of the children were not being well met. Among the issues grandparents identified, legal rights to strengthen the ability to adopt the grandchildren were frequently mentioned. Grandparents raising grandchildren frequently suffered financially, and often had feelings of isolation. The pilot study shows the usefulness of the approach and identifies research needs. The survey is attached. (Contains 2 figures and 25 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development (April 2003).