Purpose. This work provides information about households where grandparents assume roles as full‐time surrogate parents to their grandchildren. Social policy implications of these relationships and potential social policy changes to help these families are presented. Methodology. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted to appropriately represent the phenomenon of grandparents raising grandchildren. Information regarding the functioning of both grandparents and grandchildren are addressed. Findings. Grandparents who raise their grandchildren tend to experience elevated levels of stress that negatively impact their social, emotion, and physical well‐being. Children in these families may encounter problems with psychological development, adjustment, and educational functioning. Grandparents who raise their grandchildren significantly influence the development of these children in the social and educational environments. The children also impact their grandparents’ well‐being. The findings underscore the need to consider social policy implications for these families. Originality/Value. This work emphasises the functioning of not only grandparents in these families, but grandchildren as well. Additionally, information is provided regarding the pejorative impact of certain social policies on grandparents’ social‐emotional well‐being and the grandchildren’s behavioural and educational functioning. Social policy propositions are offered to help these families. The information in this article will likely help professionals in governmental, social service, and educational agencies work better with these families.
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2005
Keywords: Grandparents; Social policy changes; Professionals in governmental; Social service; Educational agencies