Extended families have always been an important part of a child’s life, but this may be true now more than ever. While conversations about child custody often centre on a mother and father’s rights to children, grandparents are increasingly becoming primary caregivers for the next generation of kids in their families. The trend can be seen in communities across Alberta and the rest of Canada.
The 2016 census revealed the increase in grandparents raising children. Currently, 0.6 percent of all Canadian children, 32,505 in total, are living in households where they are being raised by grandparents. This number was significantly less in 2011 at 30,005.
Grandparents can be asked by courts to take over child custody when parents are unable to care for their children. There are many unique challenges these caretakers face. One of these is a lack of community support, since most Alberta families do not have grandparents as primary caregivers. Answering difficult questions from the children regarding their parents is another challenge. The financial burden of unexpected dependants can also affect grandparents.
Extended family are an important resource when parents are unable to properly care for their children. Child custody issues are not confined to parental figures but can involve other caregivers. In the case that neither parent is fit to care for children, government agencies or courts may ask for grandparents or relatives to become involved. Involving a lawyer when family law becomes involved in a custody situation can help protect the well-being of any children involved as well as any extended family members.
Source: http://www.airdriecityview.com, “Kids being raised by grandparents on the rise”, Christina Waldner, Aug 10, 2017