Families and Grandparents

Families are sometimes comprised of generations of people caring for each other. Those family members who care for children may not be limited to mom and dad, but may include grandparents.  The value grandparents can play in the growth and development of grandchildren is significant.

Nationwide, 75 percent of the elderly are grandparents. With fractured family units on the rise, grandchildren are increasingly living with their grandparents. Florida has the highest population and percentage of population of people over the age of 65 in the entire United States.  Zachary Battles, Regent Law rising 3L, planning to practice law in Florida upon graduation and licensing, discussed his concerns for the wonderful aspects of the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren in his recent article on grandparents visitation rights.  He writes:

“One would think that the state with the largest population of grandparents would have the most favorable laws to protect grandparents’ rights; one would be sorely mistaken. Thanks to Supreme Court decisions on the national and state level, the current state of Florida law provides almost no protections for grandparents’ rights to visit and have a relationship with their grandchildren. Parents can simply deny all visitation with grandchildren simply by saying ‘no’, and beyond proof of abuse, grandparents have no legal recourse. Despite decades of legislative attempts to rectify the situation, the Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down statutes that attempt to give legal significance to the unique family tie found between grandparents and their grandchildren.” 

His article argues that “Florida needs a constitutional amendment that will safeguard the fundamental liberty of parents to raise their children free from government interference, while at the same time protecting the important rights of grandparents in having a relationship with their grandchildren.”  In Part I he outlines the history of the problem, in Part II he analyzes the practical impact of the problem from both a biblical and policy perspective, and in Part III he sets out a proposed solution and the rationale behind such a policy. Mr. Battles' presentation based on his article can be viewed here

Grandparents can be a part of restoring a family by caring for grandchildren.  These valuable intergenerational relationships can change a child’s future and can be a significant aspect of family restoration.

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