...Roughly 300,000 California grandparents – 65,000 of them past the age of 65 – have primary responsibility for their grandchildren.
As the numbers have grown, so has the size of a particularly desperate sliver of grandparents who fall through the cracks in near-poverty, ineligible for assistance and services.
"More than a quarter of older couples in the state do not have enough income to cover their own basic needs, much less to cover the basic needs of grandchildren placed in their custody." -- D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto and Steven P. Wallace in "The High Cost of Caring: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren," a health policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
An estimated half of California's custodial grandparents past age 65 live in a land of need. Their fixed income exceeds the federal poverty line of $14,470 but doesn't reach the average of $28,809 it takes to fund basic needs in California, according to a recent study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.... [click here for policy brief]
"Of the 300,000...almost 65,000 are over the age of 65, and 20,600...[are] solo grandparent caregivers [with] responsibility for 19,800 children."
And without meeting federal poverty standards, they don't qualify fully for benefits including food stamps, public housing support and Medi-Cal.
"...there are few options for...multigenerational families to find affordable housing in a timely manner."
Their grandkids do without. So do they.
Recommendations from the policy brief provide some interesting new challenges to nonprofit/public policy makers, legislators, and advocates -- particularly when the silos are dissolved and advocates for, say, increased kinship care over "stranger" foster care placement, collaborate with health and housing sectors; e.g.:
"To reduce housing difficulties, policymakers could: prioritize low-income grandparents who are primary caregivers of their grandchildren for affordable housing and housing subsidies...allow grandparents who become primary caregivers to keep their current residence [i.e., senior housing with age restrictions] until they can find safe and affordable housing..."
The brief also recommends, among several other priorities, "extending state foster care benefits to kinship caregivers."