One of the joys of being a grandparent is the ability to spoil grandkids and then send them home to their parents. There is the fun of watching these children grow up, without the stress and responsibility of having to care for them 24/7. Unfortunately, now more than ever, numerous grandparents in Pennsylvania are finding themselves once again in parent mode, as it has become necessary for them to step in and raise their grandchildren.

Why are more grandparents having to revert back to their full-time parental roles? The three main reasons why this becomes necessary are:

  • The death of a child’s parents
  • Parents experiencing significant financial issues
  • Child’s exposure to an unsafe home environment

No matter the reason, the goal is to make sure children are in a place where they feel safe and loved.

How big of an issue is this?

According to a recently published article, 2.7 million grandparents are currently the primary caregivers and guardians to their grandchildren. Of that 2.7 million, roughly one million are single grandmothers. Why so many? The current opioid crisis has had a big impact on the number of grandparents stepping in to parent their grandchildren. Substance abuse, in general, is behind nearly 40% of these cases.

Noble but hard work

Children who live with their grandparents fulltime often have emotional and behavioral problems — more so than the average kid who resides with his or her parents. This can make home life extremely stressful and tiring. Becoming a parent again by being willing to take responsibility for one’s grandchildren is noble, but it is hard work. If this is something you are thinking about doing, remember to take care of yourself as well as the kids. Also remember that feelings of inadequacy, doubt and fear are normal.

Want to seek custody of your grandchildren?

If you want to seek custody of your grandchildren, the state of Pennsylvania may allow you to do so under the right circumstances. Obviously, it is ideal to keep children with their parents. However, it all comes down to what living arrangement will serve the best interests of the kids. Hard as it might be to adjust to, sometimes, removing children from their parent’s care will be the right thing to do.

If taking custody of one or more grandchildren is something that you think is necessary, legal counsel can help you make your case for it. There may be some resistance to making this type of change, but if you have the evidence necessary to show your request will benefit your grandchildren, the court may side with you.