Across the United States, almost 7.8 million* children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the householders, with more than 5.8 million children living in grandparents’ homes and nearly 2 million children living in other relatives’ homes. These families are often called “grandfamilies.”
More than 2.5 million grandparents are taking on the responsibility for these children. Many other relatives also take on this responsibility, although data are not available on other relatives. Often they assume this responsibility with neither of the children’s parents present in the home. In fact, nearly 1 million children are living in homes where the grandparent is the householder and neither parent is present in the home (comparable data are not available for children living in homes where another relative is the householder and neither parent is present.)
If you are one of those grandparents this is what you will need.
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You should have:
- Birth certificates, death certificates (if your grandchild’s parent is deceased), marriage records or divorce decrees for their parents
- Social Security cards (or at least the numbers) for the children
- Medical and dental records
- Power of Attorney, custody, guardianship, adoption or other legal papers
- Consent forms signed by parents for medical care and education
- School papers, such as report cards, evaluations, registration etc.
- Proof of your grandchild’s income and assets (child support payments, trust fund, etc.)
- Proof of your income and assets (if you apply for public benefits, you’ll need these)
- Citizenship papers for you or for your grandchildren
- Military papers for you or their parents
The needs of children can seem overwhelming, especially if you are unexpectedly thrust into the role of being their primary caregiver. Good luck!