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Increasing Number of U.S. Children Raised by Grandparents

By Nottage and Ward on August 17, 2011

Approximately one in 10 children in the U.S. resides with a grandparent, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2010. That figure has increased progressively over the last 10 years, with a sharp increase during 2007 and 2008, when the economic downturn first began.

The study analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and discovered that around 41 percent of those children residing with a grandparent are also being primarily raised by that grandparent. Altogether, it is believed that about 2.9 million children in the U.S. are being raised by one or both grandparents. About half of these children also reside with a single parent, while no parent is in the household for around 43 percent of these children. Approximately eight percent reside with both parents in the household, as well as with the grandparent acting as caregiver.

Likewise, just as the number of children that are taken care of by their grandparents has swelled, so too has the number of grandparents serving as the primary caregiver to a grandchild. It is believed that around 2.6 million grandparents care for at least one grandchild.

In Illinois, grandparents and other relatives that wish to keep a child within the family after a parent’s sudden death or incapacitation may consider relative or grandparent adoption. Doing so allows them to take on the responsibility of raising the child and ensure that the child is protected. Grandparents who are denied visitation after a child’s parents have divorced can also petition for visitation rights, under certain circumstances.

If you are seeking visitation rights or custody of a grandchild, or if you are dealing with other child custody or adoption issues, contact Nottage and Ward. Our family law attorneys in Chicago can help you understand the legal options available to you, depending on the specifics of your situation. To speak with one of our highly skilled lawyers, call our law offices at 312-332-2915 today.

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