Custodial grandparents on the rise in California
Though advanced in age, senior citizens can play a significant role in the community. It is no surprise then that Orange County and other California residents hold their seniors in very high regard. For example, a recent study from the University of California shows just how significantly grandparents’ roles have increased in child custody cases.
In California, 300,000 grandparents have primary care of their grandchildren, and, of that number, 65,000 are older than 65 years of age. The lion’s share of the reason for the increase in custodial grandparents is likely the recession, but so too are family dysfunction and overseas military deployment of both parents.
While seniors are lauded for taking responsibility, how much care they can provide is a cause for concern. About half of the 65,000 have incomes that fall just over the poverty line but do not reach the state average of $28,809. Fortunately, in California, grandparents who legally go through the child welfare system can receive assistance. Besides medical benefits for the children, they can also obtain monthly foster care payments and, in some cases, food stamps.
However, getting through the eligibility maze can be a problem, and some custodial grandparents do not get everything they have coming. In response to this need, the UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research established the Elder Index, which is being touted as a better alternative for calculating benefits.
Orange County grandparents having benefits- or custody-related problems can speak with a legal professional to explore their options regarding grandparents’ rights. Taking advantage of the best available legal measures is a well advised step for people seeking custody or an agreement modification-all without compromising the best interests of the child.
Source: Mydesert.com, “More and more, grandparents raising their grandchildren,” Anita Creamer, Aug. 14, 2013