Why We Shouldn’t Need a ‘GrandRally’

Soapbox alert. I’m neither a parent nor a grandparent. But I have parents and had grandparents, so for the sake of this blog post, that makes me an expert.

Now, every few years child advocacy and grandparenting organizations gather on the west front of the U.S. Capitol to remind members of Congress that, well, to put it bluntly, they’re failing to adequately protect and help grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

Today, more than 2.5 million grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren who live with them. And nearly 7.8 million kids are living in their grandparents’ or other relatives’ homes. These numbers will sharply increase as boomers age.

It’s harder for a grandparent on a fixed income to get benefits to help raise their grandchildren. Programs like Social Security help the child both the grandparents and the children they are raising. And until recently, when military personnel died in combat and the grandparent took over care of their son or daughter’s children, the Pentagon wouldn’t give the grandparents the so-called death benefits.

Nowadays, certain state and local programs that are available to grandparent caregivers are getting their budgets severely cut or abolished.

The GrandRally brings attention to these grandparents and other relative caregivers who are raising kids and educates members of Congress that they should be supporting programs to help them.

But it irks me that we need a rally. Federal, state and local legislators need to be reminded that grandparents are now playing a larger role in their grandchild’s life? Really? I’m sure most of them are parents and perhaps grandparents themselves.  We shouldn’t have to remind anyone how important grandparents are. *shaking head*

The GrandRally is at 1 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 15, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. If you can’t attend the GrandRally, you can still help.