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Drug epidemic leads to more grandparents gaining child custody

Grandparents continue to be thrust into the role of a caregiver during the continuing opioid epidemic. Many of them assume custody with no involvement from outside agencies, so they are unaware that there may be programs and resources to help with the expenses of raising a child. In California and other states, child custody is often passed down to grandparents when parents cannot care for them because of drug addiction.

A bill called Grandparents Raising Grandchildren has been introduced and calls for agencies to help relieve burdens to the increasing number of "grandfamilies" across the United States. The long waiting lists for help and resources can devastate those trying to adjust to this new way of life. Many grandparents pay to support their grandkids out of their pocket because they do not know about respite programs.

Besides funds to offset expenses, caregivers would like easier access to therapists and counseling. Families believe children need intense therapy to help manage the trauma that often accompanies addiction in the household. Experts agree that the "grandfamily" commitment can last for years as a loved one struggles with rehab and deals with relapses. Grandparents need to have a one-stop-shop to tap into all of the resources they have available.

Opioid addiction is a major issue across the country. In California and elsewhere, families who have concerns about the safety of a child in the custody of a parent with substance abuse problems may benefit from contacting an attorney. A lawyer who has a vast knowledge of child custody cases can work with the client to help determine what is in the best interest of the child.

Source:, "Opioid crisis creating 'grandfamilies,' a need for more resources", Rich Lord, April 9, 2018

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