Growing number of grandparents are raising grandkids — and it's sending them into poverty

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Grandparents fall below poverty line as they raise their grandkids

Jennifer Brookland

Detroit Free Press

  • 2.4 million American grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
  • They are the primary caregivers for nearly 3 million of the country’s children.
  • They’re often doing it without financial and social support.

DETROIT — Pamela Wentzel was a few days shy of her 55th birthday when she arrived at the hospital to see the grandson she hadn’t known was due.

The tiny baby was born addicted to heroin and cocaine, without having received any prenatal care. But it wasn’t until Jackson was 8 days old — and Wentzel hit her milestone birthday — that she learned the truth. Her daughter was deeply hooked on drugs, and the state had assumed care for Jackson. It would begin the process of placing him in a foster home. Unless Wentzel stepped in.

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