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Census: More NY Grandparents at the Head of Thanksgiving Tables

November 22, 2010

NEW YORK - New York has almost a half-million grandparents who'll be serving holiday meals to grandkids who live with them all year long, based on the national average. Carol Fazio is a 70-year-old Long Island grandmother who has raised her 16-year old granddaughter from birth. She's part of a national trend that jumped eight percent last year, according to U.S. Census numbers.

Fazio says the recession hit them hard.

"One hundred percent it affects us, we're all on fixed incomes and you use up your savings and then you wind up having to go back to work to support this child. And you've already raised your children, and you felt when you get to this time in your life, this is for you, but that's not the way it's going any more."

Fazio says this holiday season she's giving thanks for family counseling. She got help from the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights to deal with her own emotional needs, as well as those of her grandchild.

Fazio found that her granddaughter had written a troubling letter when she turned 12.

"And the crux of the letter was, she wished she was never born because it was too hard on Grandma, and I turned around and I said this shouldn't be. This child deserves more than that; this is not her fault. So, my attitude changed a lot, and that's what helped her."

Jenifer Patsiner LCSW runs the Long Island KinCare Connection for the national grandparents' group that helped the Fazio family. She says incarceration, domestic violence, and substance abuse are the main reason New York kids end up living with grandparents, and the current economy adds to the pressures.

"Absolutely, when people are in a recession, and they're losing their jobs, they're going to react in a way that can cause domestic violence, substance abuse. I mean definitely there is a correlation."

The number of grandparents raising grandchildren has been up three years in a row.

ACS numbers posted on Census Web at More information is at

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY