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A "GrandRally" for NM Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

May 6, 2008

Albuquerque, NM – Retirement planning doesn't usually include raising children, again -- but that's the reality for thousands of New Mexico grandparents. More than 41,000 kids in the state are being raised by grandparents, according to the latest U.S. Census data; another 10,000 children are being raised by other family members.

A group of New Mexico grandparents joins hundreds of others in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (May 7) for the third annual "National GrandRally," to ask Congress to better fund states' support services for these families. Brigitte Castellano, of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights, says a second round of parenting is not an easy role to take on.

"We need some recognition for the fine work that relatives do raising these children. Picture all of these children -- if we were not there, they would be in foster care."

Dr. David Rubin with Safe Place: Center for Child Protection and Health, is finishing a study to be released next month that shows, in most cases, the best place for kids who have been displaced from their families is with relatives.

"There are major differences, in terms of the risk of behavioral problems. One-third of the children in kinship care, have behavioral problems, but nearly half of the kids who are in foster care have behavioral problems, three years later."

Castellano cites complex legal twists and turns, as well as financial issues, for relatives raising children. Many face problems getting medical care for the children in their care, or signing them up for school, due to custody issues. The Committee is also asking states to make sure laws are updated to ensure the best interests of the child.

For more information about Wednesday's event, visit www.grandrally.org.

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NM