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The High Cost of Caring: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Publication Topics

Elderly; Family, Caregiving and Parental Issues; Health Care Economics

Publication Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date


Author 1

<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=168&RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href="{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=168&RootFolder=*">D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto, PhD, MPH</a>

Author 2

<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=163&RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href="{7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&ID=163&RootFolder=*">Steven P. Wallace, PhD</a>

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​Grandparents over the age of 65 who are raising grandchildren are a small but extremely vulnerable population in California. These older adults usually become the primary caregivers of their grandchildren after an unexpected event. They are further faced with the financial challenge of having an additional dependent without additional income. This policy brief documents that the actual income needed to support a basic standard of living for older adults with grandchildren in California is about twice the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), depending on the county. Using 200% FPL as an approximate measure, about two-fifths of older grandparents who are responsible for their grandchildren in the state do not have enough income to make ends meet. The Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index) for California calculates that the costs of housing, food, and the older adults' health care account for more than two-thirds of total household expenses for grandparents and the grandchildren they are raising. Despite the high cost of basic needs, public assistance for low-income older adults and children continues to be squeezed. If they are to efficiently serve members of this fragile population, the existing programs that serve them need to maximize and streamline their impact through better coordination and collaboration.


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Policy Brief

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Elder Index data on grandparents raising grandchildren - 2011

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Related: The Elder Index for California - 2011

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Learn more about The Elder Index

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All Elder Index research and data

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Press Release

Related Link 1

Insight Center for Community Economic Development

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Wider Opportunities for Women

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Version: 6.0
Created at 6/5/2013 4:02 PM by i:0#.f|uclachissqlmembershipprovider|gwendolyn
Last modified at 6/19/2013 11:12 PM by i:0#.f|uclachissqlmembershipprovider|gwendolyn