Written by Bethany Stoutamire (Former SDSU Extension Aging in Place Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA Member) under the direction and review of Leacey E. Brown.
In South Dakota, approximately 2.4% of adults over the age of 30, live with their grandchild(ren) and about 1.3% of these grandparents are responsible for taking care of their grandchild(ren)’s basic needs. Raising grandchildren can be a unique challenge for grandparents and can also be a very difficult situation for the grandchildren (these families are sometimes referred to as grandfamilies). As a result, SDSU Extension compiled these resources so grandparents can better address the challenges of raising grandchildren.
- South Dakota: A State Fact Sheet for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children: An information sheet that contains national and state statistics, along with information about kinship care (when children in foster care are placed with relatives) and public benefits.
- South Dakota Fact Sheet for GrandFamilies: This sheet contains general statistics about grandfamilies in South Dakotas in addition to financial resources. If you are not a South Dakota resident, your state fact sheet can be found online.
- Georgia Cooperative Assistance: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A series of article covering a range of topics from moving your grandchild into your home to caring for yourself.
- University of Florida Extension: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Another great series of articles covering a range of topics from a crash course in child development to custody options.
- USA.gov- Adoption, Foster Care, and Other Child Related Issues: A federal website that has information and links pertaining to kinship families and financial assistance.
- South Dakota State Adoption Assistance Program: Contains information for individuals adopting children, particularly for foster care. Also discusses different resources and provides contact information for different agencies.
It can be emotionally difficult for grandparents to raise their grandchildren. They may be grieving the loss of a child or frustrated and angry with the child if he or she is alive. They may also feel isolated, overwhelmed, or guilty. It is important during this time that grandparents do not put their emotional or mental needs on the backburner. Support groups offer a way for grandparents to connect with others who are in a similar situation. Places of worship and community centers may offer support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren. However, due to the improvement in technology, grandparents can also have access to support through online communities.
Helping Children Cope
One study in Kentucky found that about 75% of the children had experienced at least one traumatic event before going to live with their grandparent(s). While the study in Kentucky is not necessarily indicative of the experiences of children in South Dakota, there are still grandparents who have to assume responsibility for raising a grandchild due to substance abuse, illness, death, neglect, or incarceration. Caring and finding resources for traumatized children can create additional strain or hardships for their caregivers. Below are some links and resources that may be beneficial to families.
- Resources for Parents and Caregivers
- Finding Help: Resources for Parents and Caregivers
- Child Mind Institute: Multilingual Trauma Resources
- Factsheet for Families: Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma
- Resources on Trauma for Caregivers and Families