It's a growing trend across the country and Hartford has created a commission to address the issue.
Thanks to a program called Generations, a part of Hartford's Community Renewal Team that provides affordable housing for grandparents with custody of grandchildren, members of this ever-growing demographic are getting the help they need.
“They chose to sacrifice themselves for the life of others,” said Carmen Stanford, who has been the program’s director since it started in 2006. Her work at CRT has earned her a nomination for a spot on the Hartford commission that tackles the issue.
“When I see what these women, these grandparents, grandfathers go through just to make sure there’s food on the table,” said Stanford, “Just to make sure there’s a roof over their heads, they didn’t have to do this.”
U.S. Census Data shows 7 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren nationwide. That’s 10 percent of all U.S. children. In Connecticut, roughly 6 percent of kids are raised by grandparents, and that number is quickly approaching the national average.
Officials in Hartford said the growing trend is due to a number of circumstances, including younger parents, legal challenges and even health issues.
“Now grandparents have to step up to keep the family together,” said Stanford.
Jenny Colon, who has her hands full raising her three grandchildren, said she’s thankful for the support.
“You have to leave a lot to give them a lot,” said Colon.
On Nov. 4, Stanford will meet with the Hartford City Council to explain why she should become a member of the Commission on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.