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Thousands of grandparents are stepping up to the plate each year to assume full-time parenting roles. Sources say drug addiction and alcohol dependence are the main reasons that children are being placed with grandparents. In California, courts are awarding guardianship to more and more extended family members in child custody cases.

Parents who are incapacitated by opioid addiction, or who have died because of the disease, often leave small children behind. To avoid foster care, grandparents are transitioning into the parent’s role. Some are retired and live on fixed incomes and are financially strained by the additional expenses associated with raising young children. More and more grandparents are working long past retirement age to offset costs.

Many grandparents are raising grandkids without the involvement of the legal system. Those deemed appropriate to parent often fall under intense scrutiny by the legal system, and some consider the submission to background checks and home visits invasive. Others will evade court hearings where they would have to portray their child as an unfit parent to avoid driving a further wedge between family members. Experts agree that by doing this those grandparents may miss out on financial help available to them.

Children may have emotional and behavioral problems while adjusting to life without an addicted parent. Grandparents who are assuming the parental role may not be aware of support programs available to them. In California, it may be in one’s best interest to speak with a well-informed child custody attorney. With the help of a lawyer, grandparents can ensure the end result is what is in the best interest of the children.

Source:, “Heroin makes grandparents into parents again”, DAVID WENNER, Dec. 24, 2017