Grandparents are more and more forced into the role of raising their children's children amid the latest drug epidemic tied to opioids, particularly for low-income white Americans, census data suggests, according to The Washington Post.
"As the middle generation has been hollowed out by the abuse of opioids and other substances, the oldest generation has become increasingly responsible for their grandkids, experts say," the Post's Andrew Van Dam wrote.
"It's a responsibility that many didn't expect and weren't prepared for. Retired folks find themselves trading their sedans for minivans, moving out of their adult-only communities and searching for work to cover the expenses that come with raising a child."
With the shear number of kids who need care as their parents either die from drug addiction, are jailed, or need rehab, the foster care system in communities are flooded, forcing areas to seek out extended family to take over care, sometimes without notice, according to the report.
"Unlike traditional foster parents who typically plan and go through a series of trainings, and plan for months or years to take on the role of caring for an additional child, grandparents and other relatives typically step into the role of raising children with little to no warning," Generations United deputy executive director Jaia Lent told the post. "They often get a call in the middle of the night, saying, 'Pick up your grandchild, or they'll go into foster care.'"
According to Generations United, about 95 percent of caregiving relatives work outside the foster care system and often lack financial means and support to meet needs, per the report.
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