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The nation's current outlook on grandparents and child custody

3726358_S.jpgFor many Missouri parents going through divorce, child custody is a quick and minimal process; for others, however, taking care of children can become an overwhelming responsibility The opioid crisis that has swept across the nation has not only affected millions of adults, but also the children they struggle to raise. Sometimes, child custody arrangments can become a priority before a divorce is even considered. 

As a result of this crippling epidemic, grandparents have stepped up to the plate. Grandparents gaining full custody of their grandchildren has become a new normal in America, as parents continue to battle with addiction. Below are some recent facts on the children who have become the central focus of this crisis, and the grandparents who have become their heroes.

The Numbers

The New York Times reflected on the changing family situations of countless Americans experiencing the opioid epidemic, sharing that grandparents are increasingly taking on this responsibility because their own children are in rehab, in jail or have overdosed. In 2014, The Times reported that over two million children were living with their grandparents, which was an eight percent increase from 2000. Instead of making retirement plans, many grandparents have turned to caring for young children -- a process that can upend the lives of everyone involved. 

The Heroes

The American Association of Retired Persons dedicated an article to the grandparents who have filled in the void for their children's children. While accepting this major life change can result in enough stress on its own, child welfare systems are also experiencing a rapid influx of children as a result of the epidemic. According to the AARP, lawmakers have recently considered ways to assist grandparents with these new responsibilities, but there are currently few financial resources for grandparents to turn to in times of need. While the nation continues to grapple with this ongoing issue, nonprofit organizations and grandparents alike have accepted the challenge of caring for children who have nowhere to turn.     




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