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Raising Grandchildren: Work

How to find employment and manage your job while caring for a child

Caring for grandchildren might require you to make changes with regard to working. Depending on your financial situation, you may need to either find a job so you can support your grandkids. Or maybe you need to work fewer hours to accommodate your new responsibilities. Here is what you should consider and where to find career advice and assistance in finding the right job.

See also: GrandFamilies Resources.

I'm retired, but I need extra income to care for my grandchild. How do I find a job?

Many grandparents raising grandchildren can't make ends meet if they don't work. Here are some resources you may find helpful.

  • One-Stop Career Centers are brought to you by the U.S. Department of Labor. These local centers have a wide range of help for people looking for jobs, including training, job referrals, jobs counseling, job listings and more. You can visit a One-Stop in your community or go to their website. To find a One-Stop in your area, call toll-free 877-US2-JOBS (877-872-5627) or visit
  • Temporary (Temp) agencies can get you short-term jobs with agencies that need extra workers from time to time. Some temp agencies also find workers for longer-term projects. The temp agency recruits workers and sends them to the business to fill a needed role. The business pays the temp agency, and the temp agency pays the workers. As a worker, you are actually an employee of the temp agency.
  • Personnel agencies, employment agencies and recruiting firms may be able to help you find a job. They match job openings with job seekers. Be sure to ask if there is a fee you will have to pay to get their services, and exactly what they will do for you. Beware of scams in which they make you think you can't get a job without their help, or say you have to pay a large fee, or sell you job listings.
  • Local job fairs are a great way to hear about many jobs in one place. These job fairs often have people from many companies and agencies there to talk about jobs they have open. Sometimes they also include workshops on finding a job, writing résumés and cover letters and other helpful tips.

I have a job, but it will be hard for me to manage with my grandkids. What should I do?

Your first step should be to talk to your employer to let him or her know about your new responsibilities. Start with your Human Resources office to find out if there are any special work arrangements you can take advantage of. Some companies allow workers to use sick leave to care for sick children or to take them to the doctor. Many firms have flexible work options, such as staggered work hours, work-from-home arrangements or job sharing. These can be very helpful as you try to balance your work and family responsibilities.

Are there special job programs for someone 55 or older with a low income?

The U.S. Department of Labor Training and Employment Administration has the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). These are part-time community service jobs for workers over the age of 55 who meet income limits and have a hard time finding a job. The SCSEP jobs are with nonprofit community organizations, or with federal, state, county or city organizations in places like community centers, day-care centers, museums, senior centers, national parks, hospitals and schools. The jobs are part time and pay at least the minimum wage. The program also has job training, job counseling and helps you find jobs outside the program as well.

Contact your local One-Stop Career Center through the toll-free help line at 877-US2-JOBS (877-872-5627) to find national organizations with a site near you. See the Grand Families Resources work section for more contact information and websites.

I don't qualify for SCSCEP, what other job assistance programs exist?

The AARP Foundation WorkSearch Assessment System has community-level job and career information and services for people who are seeking to remain in, or re-enter the workforce. WorkSearch is an online screening system that provides a variety of free services. WorkSearch can look at your interests and skills, link you to online training and study guides, give you skills tests, and give you ideas for the kinds of jobs that would be good for you and link you to job-search website listings for those kinds of jobs Currently, you can go through a WorkSearch assessment through any one of the 100 AARP Foundation SCSEP sites around the country.

I believe I have been treated unfairly at my job because of my age. What should I do?

The first step is to talk to your employer to see if you can discuss what happened and work out a plan together to correct it. If you can't resolve the problem in this way, you have the right to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You'll need to file your charge within a certain time limit, so don't delay. Call the EEOC at 800-669-4000 or go to the website to find out where the closest EEOC field office is. They can transfer you to that office. Get details on exactly what you have to do to file a charge.