Grandparent Care and Welfare

Assessing the Impact of Public Policy on Split and Three Generation Families

by Amy G. Cox, Anne R. Pebley

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Grandparent caregiving has received increased attention in recent years, and grandparent-grandchild families have generated several public policy concerns, including whether grandparent-led families face barriers to obtaining public assistance. The authors address this question by comparing the welfare eligibility and use of grandparent-grandchild families with that of other families. After investigating the relative need for and use of AFDC, food stamps, and Medicaid, the authors analyze the determinants of program use among children in different family types. Using data from the 1992 Survey of Income and Program Participation, the authors find that grandparent-led families, particularly split generation families, are actually more likely than other family types to receive government assistance. The authors conclude by considering the potential consequences of welfare reform for grandparent-grandchild families in light of our findings.

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