In Tennessee, nearly 70,000 grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren living with them. Nationwide, more than 2.6 million people are raising grandkids. This number is increasing rapidly as more parents become addicted to opioids and are jailed, forced into treatment centers or die from overdose.

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“Regardless of the situation, there is limited information and resources available to assist grandparents as they become the primary caregiver for their grandchildren,” said Grace Smith, executive director of the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee.

The role of grandparents can range from full custody to caring for children after school while parents work. Issues from custody arrangements, financial support and raising children in the technology age need to be discussed. “Grandparents often lack key information about the range of support services, resources, programs, benefits, laws and policies available to help them successfully fulfill their caregiving role,” said Smith.

To address these issues and more, COA created Empowering Grandparents: A Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren©. Topics include children with special needs, working with schools, legal and financial matters and age specific information.

Print copies are available at no charge at COA’s office located at 95 White Bridge Rd., Ste. 250, Nashville, TN 37205. The online version is also available through the generous funding of Cigna HealthSpring. COA also provides in-person and over the phone consultations. Visit for more information.