More children are living with grandparents and other relatives, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In Rhode Island, an estimated 6,000 children are in that situation. Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant says it’s not always easy for grandparents or aunts and uncles to become primary caretakers.
“It’s a hard job, it’s something that really strains resources in their own family structure,” Burke Bryant explains. “And yet they are stepping up in order to provide care during these periods of difficulty.”
Burke Bryant says family members are not always aware of benefits like food stamps, which children may be eligible to receive. Burke Bryant says a number of factors are likely behind the increase in ”kinship care” arrangements including financial difficulties and changes in the foster care system which have placed a greater emphasis on keeping children with relatives.
Nationwide, the number of children being cared for by relatives has increased 18 percent over the last decade, according to the report. The study also finds that children in households led by a grandparent or other relative are more likely to experience poverty than households with least one biological parent.