adj. Relating to a household in which grandparents are the primary or sole caregivers for their grandchildren.
The past decade has seen a marked rise in grandparents across the board acting as parents. Often, they are the first safety net for children who are abandoned, whose parents are deemed unfit due to drugs, alcohol, violence or mental illness, whose moms and dads aren't much more than babies themselves. The AARP found the trend significant enough that it founded the Grandparent Information Center in 1993 to assist these caregivers, especially those in "skipped-generation" households, where a grandparent is raising a grandchild with no parent in the home.
Two years and $ 25,000 later, Rench, now 65, finally won custody of her granddaughter, who is now eight. She has joined a nationwide groundswell of grandparents who are stepping in to raise their children's children. Rench and her granddaughter are one of 95 "skip-generation" families who belong to the Ft. Worth area chapter of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG).
This form of kinship care (1990) is becoming commonplace. Recent data from the U.S. 2000 census estimates that nearly 2.4 million grandparents in the United States are raising their children's children. In contrast to what may be a conservative estimate, according to a 1998 survey commissioned by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), one out of every nine grandparents — about 8 million out of a total of 70 million — takes care of one or more grandchildren.