Grandfamilies - An ABA Brief from the Center on Children and the Law

Authored by Heidi Redlich Epstein, JD, MSW, Director of Kinship Policy, American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law; and Ana Beltran, JD, Special Advisor, Generations United National Center on Grandfamilies


More than 2.6 million grandparents are raising grandchildren in the United States, and over a million of those grandparents are over age 60. The many other relatives who also raise their kin, such as great aunts or uncles, are not even included in these numbers.

These “grandfamilies” are just that -- “grand” families in which grandparents and other relatives step up to raise children whose parents are unable to care for them. The parental reasons these grandfamilies come together differ and include parental substance use, deportation, incarceration, mental illness or death. Because these challenges can impact anyone, we see this issue in all areas of the country and among all socioeconomic groups.

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