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GrandFamilies Guide

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

If you are just starting to care for a grandchild, these are the basic things you need to know

If you are raising a grandchild or another relative’s child, you are not alone. Millions of grandparents and other relatives are raising children.

See also: GrandFamilies Resources.

The Guide for GrandFamilies can help you find your way with tips, tools and resources to the services and support you need to take care of yourself and your family.

GETTING STARTED

The needs of children can seem overwhelming, especially if you are unexpectedly thrust into the role of being their primary caregiver. First, focus on the basic needs, such as finding a safe place for the child to sleep; providing him with food, clothing, and any medication he might need; and getting the right kind of equipment, such as a stroller, car seat and crib.  If he’s older, get as much information as you can about his school and other activities he might be involved in.

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What documents do I need?

Make a binder or folder where you keep all of these important papers so you can easily find them when you need them.  You should have:

  • Birth certificates, death certificates (if your grandchild’s parent is deceased), marriage records or divorce decrees for their parents
  • Social Security cards (or at least the numbers) for the children
  • Medical and dental records
  • Power of Attorney, custody, guardianship, adoption or other legal papers
  • Consent forms signed by parents for medical care and education
  • School papers, such as report cards, evaluations, registration, etc.
  • Proof of your grandchild’s income and assets (child support payments, trust fund, etc.)
  • Proof of your income and assets (if you apply for public benefits, you’ll need these)
  • Citizenship papers for you or for your grandchildren
  • Military papers for you or their parents

Next: Find the right support by asking these questions. »

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Grandparent
Resources

GrandFacts

National and state fact sheets listing services, programs,  benefits, laws and policies for grandparents raising children. Read

GrandFamilies Guide

Information, tips and tools for grandparents raising grandchildren. Read

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