Nationally and in Wyoming, more children are being cared for by Grandparents or other family members.
Children end up being cared for by relatives or close family friends because of military deployments, the death of a parent, substance abuse or mental illness, or child abuse and neglect. The Annie E. Casey Foundation says some four thousand Wyoming children are being cared for by a family member. Wyoming Kids Count Director Marc Homer says these can be excellent guardians for children, but he notes that state policies can be challenging for these caregivers.
"Unfortunately, the path to permanent guardianship, or even adoption, is rather difficult. There's a lot of roadblocks and some of their rights are not really protected."
Homer says children who have a family member look after them tend to do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems that those who have non-family guardians.