As is the case throughout the country, many children both in the Rockford area are being cared for and raised by their grandparents. Grandparents in this state frequently are willing to step in and provide for their grandchildren when the child’s parents are either unwilling or unable to do so, such as in the case where parents have drug or alcohol issues.
In other cases, a parent may face mental health or legal issues that make it hard, if not impossible, for the parent to fulfill his or her role. Sometimes, even a parent’s inability to hold down steady income can require that the child’s grandparents intervene.
According to one state agency, there are well over 200,000 children in Illinois who are living with their grandparents full-time. Of these, many have lived with their grandparents for at least 5 years, meaning that the grandparents have to a great extent stepped in to the role as the children’s provider.
Across the country, over 5.5 million grandchildren live with their grandparents. These figures are likely to increase once the upcoming 2020 population Census gets completed and the data from the Census gets processed.
While these grandparents are generally doing their best, they face a number of family law challenges beyond trying to keep up with oftentimes young and energetic children. One challenge is that, in many cases, grandparents may not have the proper legal authority to make decisions for and obtain services on behalf of their grandchildren. And, obtaining this authority can involve a complicated process.