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Grandparents raising grandchildren: a primer for pediatricians

Ge, Williama; Adesman, Andrewb

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: June 2017 - Volume 29 - Issue 3 - p 379–384
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000501
OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review To provide clinicians with a review of key considerations relating to the physical and behavioral well-being of children raised by their grandparents.

Recent findings As the number of children being raised by their grandparents in the United States steadily increases, the needs of these families require greater attention. These children and their custodial grandparents face unique health, social, legal, and financial challenges. Children being raised by their grandparents are at higher risk for developmental and behavioral problems because of prior or current adverse family environments. Moreover, there is evidence that custodial grandparents may experience negative health, social, and financial outcomes that may constrain their ability to provide the best care for their grandchildren.

Summary Pediatricians should not only be aware of the medical and developmental status of children who are being reared by their grandparents, but also assess the needs, abilities, and potential limitations of these custodial grandparents. In addition to providing useful parenting advice and direct support to custodial grandparents, pediatricians should refer these families as needed to local grandparenting groups, social service agencies, experienced legal counsel, and relevant national organizations for support and guidance.

aYale University, New Haven, Connecticut

bDevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, Lake Success, New York, USA

Correspondence to Andrew Adesman, MD, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, 1983 Marcus Avenue, Suite 130, Lake Success, NY 11042, USA. Tel: +1 516 802 6100; e-mail:

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