This article points out that since 1970 the percentage of child living full-time with grandparents has doubled. More and more grandparents are spending their retirement years raising their grandkids full time. Sometimes the situation is temporary, because the parents are deployed in the military, an illness, or other causes. Often, the situation is indefinite, because it isn’t clear when or if one or more of the parents will be able to take the children full time. The article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the arrangements. But it also points out that many of the grandparents are in precarious situations, because they don’t have a legal status such as guardianship.
The majority of grandparents raising grandchildren, then, are left to make their way through trial and error, cobbling together financial and logistical support for the grandchildren as best they can. They live in a kind of shadow world, worried that things could shift without warning, causing their beloved grandchild to be sent back to an unsafe situation, or to be sent into non-relative foster care.
Barb has no legal standing with Avery; it’s her son who has custody, and Barb fears that his ex, Avery’s biological mother, will someday go back to court to try to get custody. One way some grandparents avoid this sense of precariousness is through a program called assisted guardianship.