by Sarah Allan
Grandparents’ Day is a day to appreciate, recognize and celebrate every grandparent everywhere in the world. Grandparents who share time, wisdom, energy and love with grandchildren and great grandchildren; who provide child care while their children work; who spend their savings making sure their grandchildren have “a better life”; who don’t see their grandchildren and miss them dearly; and those who are raising their grandchildren 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, month after month, year after year.
In Canada, more than 65,000 children are being raised by a grandparent or other relative without any parental involvement. In British Columbia, there are almost 10,000 children who are being raised by their grandparents. This is more children than are in foster care in BC. Many of these children end up being cared for by their grandparents as the result of a crisis situation involving the child’s parents, such as the involvement of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, neglect or abandonment, drug addiction, mental health issues, incarceration or death. These amazing ‘grandparents raising grandchildren’, or ‘GRG’s’, have been referred to as the province’s ‘invisible foster care system’ as without them, the taxpayer funded foster care system would be responsible for the care and well-being of all of these children.