According to information obtained by the U.S. Census, 28,000 Massachusetts children are in the primary care of their grandparents. A wide variety of reasons exist for the growing number of grandparents taking on child custody, including parents who are in jail, who suffer mental illness or who serve in the military. However, parents abusing drugs seem to contribute largely to these numbers. Census information indicates that the majority of grandparents tasked with raising a second generation are in their fifties, with some in their late forties.
This time is their lives is typically when mothers plan to re-enter the job market or when couples start considering retirement. Having to shelve all plans and start parenting again can be a challenge. Not only do the grandparents have to face the emotional and physical challenges of raising children, but they also have to face the financial and legal hurdles. Until child custody is awarded, grandparents may not be allowed to enroll children in schools and make medical decisions, among other important responsibilities related to child rearing.
The financial strain faced when raising a child can add stress to the situation, and obtaining support may be a problem. The Child Advocate Bill that was signed into Massachusetts law in 2008 may provide some relief through the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (CSGRG). It is a support group to assist grandparents who are in an unanticipated position of caring for their grandchildren.
The guidance and support of experienced family law attorneys may be invaluable to Massachusetts grandparents in making informed decisions related to matters such as child custody. Family law attorneys will also provide advice about other topics including financial assistance and health insurance. In many cases, the children are removed against the parents’ wishes, and they may attempt to get the children back, regardless of whether or not that would be in the best interests of the children. A lawyer will be able to suggest methods of ensuring the safety of the children.
Source: malden.wickedlocal.com, “Grandparents raising grandkids seek support in Massachusetts“, Nicholas Iovino, April 28, 2015