Document Type



Master of Arts


Family Life Education

Capstone Committee Member (Advisor 1)

Mary Kingston

Capstone Committee Member (Advisor 2)

David Brusehoff


Grandparents raising grandchildren is not a new situation, however, since the 1980s, there has been a drastic increase in the number of children living in households headed by grandparents. The statistics reveal that over two million children are living in this type of family unit. Grandparents raising grandchildren goes beyond every socioeconomic group, geographic area, and ethnic group. The information compiled in this project will provide a program for family life educators to address parenting skills for grandparents raising their grandchildren.

I sit in amazement as our society constantly evolves from century to century. While sitting at my desk, a fragile, slim individual enters the doorway with a timid knock accompanied by a small voice saying, "'cuse me, baby, can you tell me how I ca' sign my grandchild up for school?" I looked around the partition and there stood a woman who appeared to be in her mid to late seventies. She then went on to say, "I trying to do the best I can, but I sho' ca' fin' much hep. I sho' hope ya'll can hep me." She was the great-grandmother of four of her grandchildren who she was attempting to rear with trial/error education and minimal finances. I let her sit and explain the story of how she took the children to keep them out of the Department of Social Services network. She had no idea of how the laws affected her new condition. All she knew was that all the other children were in school during the day and the youngest was at home with her and she needed a break, if only for a few hours. I asked, "If I'm not getting too personal, where are the parents of the children?" She shared, "I wish I could tell you. The last I seen of the mama was about eight months ago. They say she on drugs or in jail by now." This great-grandmother needed immediate resources to help her understand the law and how it affected her, the children, and the manner of caring for their needs. She needed to know that she was not the only grandparent or great-grandparent raising a child. She needed to know she was not alone.

This situation stirred my interest to find out what was available to individuals who found themselves in this or a similar situation. There are many resources available to meet the needs of children or the grandparents, but very few resources that acknowledge this unit as a family and meet the physical, social, or psychological needs of these individuals. Through my research, I discovered at least one agency in my immediate area that attempts to reach out to this ever-increasing population. I will observe and work closely with its administration and staff to develop and enhance the present programs for other grandparents in similar situations to use as a resource.


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