Molly M. Ginty has written an excellent story at Women’s eNews about the growing number of grandparents — particularly grandmothers — responsible for the care of their grandchildren.

The number of “grandfamilies” has grown 60 percent since 1990, and now one in 12 children in the United States is being raised by a grandparent.
The reasons are numerous, ranging from biological parents’ death or
health problems (including drug abuse) to extended military deployment. Ginty describes legislation aimed at helping elder caregivers:

An estimated 2.5 million grandparents — 63 percent of them women — are responsible for raising their grandchildren, which can strain their resources as they struggle to take charge when mothers and fathers can not.

To help the growing number of grandparent caregivers, lawmakers in March introduced the Kinship Caregiver Support Act, which would entitle “grandfamilies” to the same subsidies that foster families receive. Grandparent-headed households are currently ineligible for this aid, even though the care they provide saves the foster care system an estimated $6.5 billion a year, according to Generations United, a Washington-based nonprofit.

Sponsored in the Senate by Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and in the House by Danny Davis, D-Ill., and Tim Johnson, R-Ill., the bill could come up for a vote later in 2007.

Plus: The New York Times last week had an interesting story about planned intergenerational communities that are building support networks for children in foster care and their caregivers.

“Peace Corps recruitment is going retro, signing up Americans who are 55 or older and still have something to give,” reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Perhaps one of the best known older Americans to volunteer was Lillian Carter, mother of former President Jimmy Carter, who joined at age 68 and served two years in India.

In honor of women winning the right to vote on Aug. 26, 1920, the Chicago Foundation for Women
suggests how to celebrate Women’s Equality Day: “This Sunday we want
you to call 10 of your friends and make sure that they are planning to
vote in the upcoming elections. We believe exercising your right to
vote is crucial. So, just do it.

“After being sharply criticized earlier this year for naming mostly
white men to the bench, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made 18 judicial
appointments Monday that included a substantially greater mix of women
and minorities,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The “Bionic Woman” is making a comeback. More than 30 years after
the original television series debuted starring Lindsay Wagner, a new
“Bionic Woman” is coming to the small screen this fall.

Executive producer David Eick, who’s also behind the remake of Sci
Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica” — which features some of the richest
character roles for women — tells USA Today that the show will try to reflect contemporary attitudes toward women.

“In
the old days, it was about ‘women can do everything men can do.’ That
doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue now,” he says. Today, “it’s more
about if we can accept that women can do what men can do, do we judge
it differently? Backing that is what I call the Peter Parker ethos:
someone who is not sure of him or herself as a person, let alone a
hero. And I’m just applying that to a female perspective.”

Christine

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