sealPurdue News _____

November 1997

More grandparents take on role as 'parents' to grandchildren

As more grandparents become primary caregivers for their grandchildren, their expanded roles bring both joy and issues to overcome. For many, raising their grandchildren keeps them young and active and gives them a great deal of satisfaction, says Dena Targ, Purdue University Extension specialist in human development. However, there are obstacles to contend with, not the least of which are the reasons the children are living with the grandparents: divorce, unemployment, neglect, abandonment, teen-age pregnancy or death of the parents. "A combination of social and economic problems in the last decade has made it more difficult for parents to carry out their parental responsibilities," Targ says. While it's nothing new, Targ says more grandparents are raising their grandchildren. According to 1990 census data, 2.3 million children in the United States under age 18 -- or 3.6 percent -- lived with their grandparents. By 1993, those figures had risen to 3.4 million, or 5 percent. (To retrieve a news release on this topic, send an e-mail message that says "send punews 9709a25" to or visit the PurdueNews Web site at CONTACT: Targ, (765) 494-2937; e-mail,

Compiled by Beth Forbes, (765) 494-9723; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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