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Supporting Grandparents as Caregivers

By Dr. Rhonique Shields-Harris, Medical Director of Children’s Health Project of D.C.

In 2006, CHF's Children's Health Project of DC (CHPDC) launched a grandparent support group for local grandparents who were raising their grandchildren. CHPDC recognized a need to provide assistance and encouragement to this growing population because of their often unexpected roles as caregivers. The group not only provides support, but also acts as a place where these grandparents can access legal advice, referrals, housing resources and assistance completing forms and applying for benefits for their grandchildren.

Interestingly, an article in yesterday's New York Times noted findings from the most recent Census Bureau report regarding the sharp rise in the number of children living with their grandparents. In 2010 in the US, 6.5 percent of children live with their grandparents, which is the highest rate in 20 years and an 8 percent increase since 2009. Given these new findings, it's important for support groups like ours to provide resources to help these grandparents in raising the next generation.