A group of Iowans will join others from all over the country heading for the nation’s capital this week to urge more attention to grandparents’ rights. Diane Broderson heads program services at the Muscatine Family “Y” for people who’ve found themselves raising their own grandchildren, though they hadn’t planned on it. They go to make lawmakers aware of issues that face grandparents raising their grandchildren, and remember them when making laws. This is not the visitation issue ruled upon last week by Iowa’s Supreme Court, but cases where an adult parent is dead, jailed, or unable to care for kids and the grandparents raise their own grandkids, something Broderson says is not too unusual.Many haven’t formally been appointed to parental rights, as she says some parents leave them temporarily with the grandparents, and then don’t come back for a couple years. That leaves grandparents unable to get medical care, register kids in school and do the parental things other caretakers can. Broderson says many of those grandparents are reluctant to contact authorities, especially in local government, for fear when their situation is discovered, the kids will be taken from them. Broderson says people caring for kids who are related to them need the same resources and support strangers get from the government to raise children in foster families. In 2000, the US Census found 2-million, 350-thousand people raising their own grandchildren. On the web:www.grandsplace.com.
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