Is the nuclear family a thing of the past? A report in USA Today, which says that more grandparents are raising their grandchildren, seems like the nail in the coffin of the traditional two parent home.
The paper interviewed an unnamed couple in New Jersey who anticipated retiring, but couldn’t because they’re caring for grandchildren.
The Census reports that 4.9 million American children are being raised solely by their grandparents, which is double the number from the previous Census.
From USA Today:
“There has also been an increase in the number of grandparents who have financial responsibilities for their grandchildren,” according to Sharon Giacchino, program director at NORWESCAP. “We are seeing an increase in grandparents as a alternate type of child care. It is not spiking, but has been a steady climb over the years.”
Many times situations arise where a child can no longer safely reside with their biological parent or legal guardian. Mary Jane Di Paolo, assistant director of Community Child Care Solutions, said the state’s Department of Child and Families first looks for relatives and family friends who may be familiar to the child to provide care.
Giacchino also said that the economy is impacting the number of grandparents who are primary caregivers to children.
“Either because of divorce, widowed, separated, for some reason it doesn’t work out and grandparents step in as caregivers for the grandchildren,” Giacchino said. “Even in households where the parents are together but both work, grandparents have become caregivers.”