The proportion of children living with grandparents has doubled in the U.S. since 1970. Nearly 100,000 grandparents in Illinois are living with and responsible for their own grandchildren under the age of 18. Many grandparents become caregivers during or because of a major life crisis. As the children’s parents struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, economic hardship, and other challenges, these caregivers provide a vital safety net to children. In addition to the emotional impact, these grandparents often need assistance to help navigate their way through a variety of family issues, including legal and custody, financial, and parenting skills.
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program funded by AgeSmart provides education, respite, and emergency financial assistance as well as legal resources to the grandparents living in Southwestern Illinois. Grandparents or relatives who are 55 years of age or older and caring for a child under 18 years of age are eligible for the services, regardless of income. The services are available in Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington Counties and provided by local community organizations. Contact the organizations below for more information.