by Rose Marie Paul, HMG-LI Family Resource Specialist
Over the years, the number of multi-generational households has increased.
In 2016, a record 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof.
– The Pew Research Center
Reasons span from economic, health, and immigration related issues which have played a huge role in influencing the rising numbers.
What does this mean for our children? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 about 4.8 million preschool age children were cared for by a grandparent. This 4.8 million is just an estimate, considering that many grandparents may have not labeled themselves as “caregivers” given that they may see it simply as, “just taking care of my grandkids.”
This is because the cost of childcare is a barrier, forcing more and more families are seeking alternative options. As a Family Resource Specialist for Help Me Grow – Long Island I have spoken to numerous caregivers looking to be connected to childcare. We routinely refer out to trained childcare specialists at the Child Care Councils of Nassau and Suffolk. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon upon follow-up to learn that the caregiver I referred did not qualify for a childcare subsidy and will end up looking for alternative options. Those options often include either seeking unlicensed day cares, leaving the workforce all together, or enlisting the help of a relative such as the child’s grandparent.
According to this Zero to Three report, based on the last census numbers, grandparents play a major role in raising the next generation. They often provide childcare for children under 5 while parents are working.
The 2020 Census began on April 1, 2020 and is expected to end on October 31. It will be interesting to see how the numbers regarding care for young children have changed over the years, as its results affect business decisions, law-making, and federal funding.
Responding to the 2020 Census can help shape resources for children and their communities over the next decade. This could include support for health insurance programs, hospitals, child care, food assistance, schools, and early childhood development programs… The results, collected once a decade, help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.
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Investing in quality early learning programs is the most efficient way to affect school and life success and to reduce social expenditures later.
Docs for Tots works to ensure children’s healthy development and future success. We bring together children’s doctors and communities to promote practices, policies and investments in children from prenatal to age five.