Child custody given to grandparents as drug addictions rage on

Grandparents have been gearing up for another round of child rearing as the opioid epidemic rages on across the country. At a time when many may be planning on winding down and preparing for retirement bliss, a large number of grandparents find themselves in the middle of child custody cases. In Georgia and in other states, studies show that children adjust better under the care of grandparents than in foster homes.

About 2.7 million grandparents across the country are assuming the role of caregiver because their children are battling opioid addiction. They are trading in their retirement plans for PTA meetings, carpools and diaper changes. The abrupt change in lifestyle and taking on the responsibility of caring for young children is a rude awakening for some grandparents. Financial and emotional challenges can be devastating and overwhelming for them as well, especially those with disabilities.

Many grandparents in Georgia pull money from retirement savings or are staying in the workforce longer to pay for the cost of raising their grandchildren. This is compounded by other unexpected expenses such as court costs and attorney and legal fees. They also are burdened with the added stress and worry they have about their own kids who are still fighting addiction or who may have already succumbed to the disease.

The opioid addiction problem appears to be never ending. It is fortunate that many of these children who are affected will remain a part of their families since the grandparents have stepped up to the plate to assume the parenting role. Those who could suddenly be assuming custody of a child due a parent's drug addiction could greatly benefit from securing experienced legal counsel. An attorney can answer any child custody related questions and concerns while ensuring there is always an emphasis on the child's future best interests during these challenging times. 

Source:, "Grandparents caring for grandchildren as parents battle addiction", Karen Mansfield, March 17, 2018

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