COVID-19 Impacts on Grand-Families in PEI
In many families, grandparents are highly involved in the lives of their younger generations, whether it’s through some degree of co-parenting responsibility with the parent(s) or in leading a grand-family with no parental involvement.
Research has shown that families adapt and transition to grand-families for diverse reasons, including mental illness and/or addictions; the absence, incarceration or death of a parent; or to provide support in the event of adolescent pregnancy. Children in grand-families have often had early adverse experiences.
While many grand-families are resilient and while grandparents take on their new role without hesitation, they have unique experiences and realities that warrant focused attention. Many grandparents in these families are second, or even third-time caregivers, and becoming a grand-family typically involves a major shift in their aspirations and expectations. Parenting can have a greater impact on well-being later in life, and grandparents in these families have reported a lack of community and financial supports and services available to them.
In August 2020, the Vanier Institute of the Family engaged with grandparents and great-grandparents living in Prince Edward Island to increase our understanding of grand-families in PEI, their well-being and experiences caring for their grandchildren, program awareness and more in the Grand-families in PEI Survey.
Among surveyed grandparents and great-grandparents in PEI…
• Most commonly cited reason for grandchildren living with grandparents were that their parent(s) have addictions, followed by parent(s) have mental health challenges.
• Nearly two-thirds of respondents are currently working in paid employment (62%), and the majority (68%) are not working from home.
• 56% of respondents currently use paid child care arrangements for the grandchildren living with them.
• The vast majority of respondents (94%) say they don’t receive financial support from adults outside their home.
The survey is part of the Grand-Families in Canada Partnership between the Vanier Institute, the University of Prince Edward Island and Building GRAND-Families Inc. – an innovative, two-year collaboration that engages with a network of individual and groups to bring together those who serve families, researchers, community organizations and the general public to increase the understanding of family well-being in PEI and across Canada.