Grandparents-as-parents: Social change and its impact on grandparents who are raising their grandchildren

Backhouse, Jan (2006) Grandparents-as-parents: Social change and its impact on grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. In Social Change in the 21st Century Conference 2006, 27 October 2006, Carseldine QUT, Brisbane.

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During the last quarter of a century there has been a worldwide dramatic increase in the number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren because of their own adult children’s inability to take on the parenting role. A wide range of social changes has contributed to this growing social phenomenon. These include an escalation of drug and alcohol abuse, a rise in the number of sole parent families, an increase in mental health problems, high rates of incarceration (especially of women), increases in child abuse and neglect, the introduction of HIV/AIDS into our community, death (often due to drug overdose), as well as the world-wide trend towards welfare agencies placing children at risk into ’kinship care’ rather than foster care. Research has shown that apart from the joy it brings into their life, becoming a custodial grandparent can have many negative personal, interpersonal and economic consequences.

To date, very little research has been conducted into grandparents who are raising their grandchildren in Australia. This paper arises from a qualitative study which explores the impact of social change on 30 grandparent-headed families who are raising their grandchildren in New South Wales. Data from the study reveals that grandparents who are raising their grandchildren derive many benefits from taking on the caregiving role of their grandchildren, however they also face numerous challenges. Preliminary conclusions indicate the need for a large range of interventions to address the many emotional, social and economic concerns affecting grandparents-as-parents.

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ID Code: 6072
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: grandparents, as, parents, social change, challenges/concerns
ISBN: 1741071291
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Jan Backhouse
Deposited On: 07 Feb 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 13:06

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