Services to Help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Georgia

On behalf of Samuel Siemon

There is help for grandparents raising their grandchildren in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) offers various services to help grandparents and other nonparent custodians with physically, financially, medically and emotionally raising children. In particular, the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), part of the DHS, allows grandparents and nonparent custodians to apply for and receive child support payments under its current rules and regulations.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

According to Georgia census data, about 92,000 grandparents assume the responsibility of raising their grandchildren each year. Grandparents over 60 who may be retired or disabled face particular hurdles with supporting and caring for young grandchildren. The DHS offers access to many services to help grandparents. These include things like child care assistance, group support for relative caregivers, finances from child support or other subsidies, and medical aid through Medicaid and other programs.

Current DCSS Rules

Under current DCSS rules and regulations, grandparents with legal custody of their grandchildren or nonparent custodians with legal rights to seek or modify child support orders can apply for and, if eligible, receive child support. The relative children, or the parent from whom the grandparent or nonparent custodian seeks support, must reside in Georgia. Child support is in addition to the other services offered to grandparents, nonparent custodians and families through DHS. These rules may change soon, however.

Revised DCSS Rules

Earlier this year, the DCSS published revised rules and regulations to update or more fully explain certain provisions. Although these revised rules are not in effect yet, the changes could impact those currently receiving child support payments, including grandparents. The major changes include adding language clarifying who is eligible for DCSS services, like only those with custody of dependent children. The revised rules will also address fees the DCSS may collect for its services and how DCSS can redirect child support payments with shifts in physical custody.

Other Resources

Rearing children is a difficult task, but it becomes even more complicated for grandparents to raise their grandchildren while entering their 60’s and facing retirement and possibly the development of advanced-age medical conditions or disabilities. That is why Georgia state agencies provide services to help grandparents and other nonparent custodians cope with their new parental roles and find the resources needed to care for kids.

If you are a grandparent considering raising your grandchild, or you currently have custody, contact a Georgia family law attorney to discuss your legal rights and options for custody, adoption, child support and other possible services to help with supporting and rearing children.

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