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High costs of raising a child challenges state's most vulnerable caregivers: Grandparents
Date:6/23/2013

Raising a child is not cheap. Now try raising one on a fixed income and long past the age one associates with parenthood: 65 years and older.

More than 300,000 grandparents in California have primary responsibility for their grandchildren, and of this group, almost 65,000 are over the age of 65. More than 20,000 care for their grandkids without any extended family assistance at home.

A new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development shows that these families older adults raising grandchildren alone may be among the most vulnerable residents in California, due to the state's high cost of living and low levels of public assistance.

"California's high cost of living turns the loving act of caring for a grandchild into a desperate financial risk," said the UCLA center's D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto, lead author of the study. "And older grandparents, many on fixed incomes and with limited mobility, are often the least able to advocate for, and access, public assistance."

The brief's new calculations based on the true cost of living in every California county show that nearly half of custodial grandparents who are 65 and over in California do not have enough income to cover the most basic needs of the grandchildren placed in their care. Yet public programs that might provide benefits that could help grandparents cope, such as the state foster-care program, are often difficult to access or off-limits altogether for family caregivers.

"There is a hypocrisy built into how assistance is allocated to children and their caregivers in California," said Susan E. Smith, director of the California Elder Economic Security Initiative at the Insight Center. "We preach the importance of keeping families together yet deny grandparents essential assistance because they are 'family.' This is an injustice that policymakers could easily address by making more benefits a
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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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