Though there are numerous intergenerational families in Atlanta, most people still don’t immediately include grandparents when talking about a household. Yet, with poor economic times come an increased dependence on grandparents to care for or help support grandchildren. And grandparents aren’t just taking on minor roles in their grandchildren’s lives; there are an increasing number of grandparents who are their grandchildren’s primary caregivers.

Acting as a primary caregiver does not necessarily mean, however, that the grandparents have custody of the children. More often than not, a grandparent will live with his or her adult children and his or her grandchildren, helping out with child care. This can be particularly helpful for single parents, as a live-in grandparent can keep children entertained and supervised while the parent is busy working.

At the same time, there are some grandparents who do indeed have custody of the children. These grandparents typically step in when the children’s parents have lost their parental rights or have tragically died. One woman from Washington, D.C., has been raising her grandson alone for the past nine years. Her daughter died when her grandson was just an infant and it is unclear what happened to the boy’s father. At one point, the grandmother turned to her own parents for help, but they lacked the strength to watch a baby.

These kinds of stories are happening across Georgia. Soon enough, the idea of a grandmother or grandfather raising a grandchild won’t seem nearly as strange as it did during better economic times.

Source: Washington Post, “As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says,” Tara Bahrampour, Nov. 5, 2013