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Grandparents raising kids sometimes struggle with extra costs

Some children have close relationships with their grandparents. Others live across the country, and it's a special treat to see them at holidays. Still others, in a much smaller group, are raised by their grandparents.

When grandparents get custody of their grandchildren, it's often because their own son or daughter is having trouble raising kids on their own. But not all grandparents retire early and have money tucked away. Some have trouble making ends meet themselves, and it can put a pinch on finances when it comes to "extras."

It's true for grandparents in Texas and around the country. One older couple says that they are raising their grandchildren, ages 4 and 7, because their daughter wasn't fit to care for them. They took them in to prevent the kids from being placed in foster care. The children's mother apparently has a history of substance abuse problems, and her parents don't know her current whereabouts.

Both grandparents are retired, they say, and are on a fixed income. They have limited savings and rely on Social Security payments to pay rent and other expenses.

There are many costs to consider: groceries, utilities and new clothes for the children. These grandparents have other struggles, too. They say they try to remain cheerful for the young girls, but worry about their own daughter and wonder what they could have done differently.

Most people probably don't expect to raise their own grandchildren. A change in custody can be a challenging transition for all involved.

Source: Boston Globe, "Grandparents raising 2 happy girls, but struggle with extras," Christopher Tangney, Dec. 4, 2011

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