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Children of my children: An exploration of the issues embedded in the lives of grandchildren being raised by their grandparents

Lina C Racicot, University of Massachusetts Amherst


A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that over 5 million or 7% of our nations children are being raised in grandparent headed households. In many of these homes no biological parent resides. Families is which grandparents are raising their grandchildren have become a widespread distinctive familial structure. In fact, between 1980 and 1990 there has been a 44% increase in grandparents raising grandchildren due to issues such as parental substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, teenage pregnancy, and general parental incompetence. This reconfiguration of the family occurs across many socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Over 500 grandparents participated in this study, which explores the complex issues related to the emergence of this contemporary family structure, including parental substance abuse, child abuse, neglect and abandonment, and the critical needs of the children. It is of great importance that the needs and issues of these families are understood, so that they may be addressed through effective social and educational policy that will help insure healthy lives for the next generation of parents and their children.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Gerontology

Recommended Citation

Racicot, Lina C, "Children of my children: An exploration of the issues embedded in the lives of grandchildren being raised by their grandparents" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3136768.