Custodial grandparenting isn’t new, but the numbers have grown so significantly that the trend has prompted a new descriptor: the “grandfamily,” according to a recent Washington Post article.

Grandparents raising grandchildren full-time is a growing trend. As we shared on a recent blog post there are an estimated 80,000+ grandparents raising their grandchildren in Pennsylvania. Nationally, according to the Washington Post article, “[in] 2017, 2.8 million young people — about 4 percent of American children — were being raised by 2.6 million grandparents.” This number represents a 15 percent increase between 2007 and 2017.

The article cites the opioid epidemic and the recession as two reasons custodial grandparenting is increasing. The piece also asserts that grandparents taking over the parenting role is more stable for children and relieves pressure on the foster care system. Still, this trend does not come without its challenges: subsidized and market-rate senior communities do not allow children, and many grandparents already struggle to make ends meet without the added cost of raising kids.

The Post article focused on a subsidized housing project available to low-income grandfamilies in Washington, D.C. Amenities in that housing project include laundry rooms, lounges, a computer activity room, gym, private playground, basketball court and garden. Social services, legal assistance, transportation, and mental health care referrals are available to residents. The report featured the site as a model for other regions in the nation.

If you have questions about the rights of custodial grandparents in Pennsylvania, or need advice on assuming that role, we can help. Call us at 215-340-2207, or email