More Children Being Raised By Grandparents

I have noticed in my Ocala family law practice that more and more Grandparents are raising their grandchildren, either by an informal agreement or by seeking a court order for Custody by Extended Family Member pursuant to Florida Statute 751. This was recently validated in a new study produced by the Pew Research Center, using U.S. Census Bureau data, shows that one in every ten children in the United States is living with a grandparent. The numbers have been rising sharply since 2008, the first year of the current recession.

This trend to any Florida attorney practicing family law has been inescapable. The study noted that 41% of the children who live with a grandparent are being raised primarily by that grandparent. While the numbers rose from 2000 to 2006, they definitely spiked as the economy worsened in 2007 and 2008. An article from the Examiner stated that in Florida, the US Census Bureau indicate that 2% of all children under the age of 18 (64,500 kids) were living in skipped generation grandfamilies in Florida as of 2007."

The Pew Report found that Grandparent-parents are 62% female, and 38% male. Two-thirds of grandparent caregivers are married, while 34% are not. Most grandparents who care for their grandchildren have been doing so for quite a long time. More than half (54%) report that they have been the primary caregiver to at least one grandchild for three years or more, and 23% have been the primary caregiver to a grandchild for between one and two years.

All in all the grandparent caregivers tend to be relatively young -- most (67%) are younger than age 60, and 13% are younger than 45. This makes sense, since younger grandparents are more likely to be physically able to meet the needs of grandchildren on a daily basis. Sadly, Grandparent caregivers tend to have very limited financial resources. Nearly one in five (18%) is living below the poverty line.