When grandparents are the parents

Last week the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Gov Nathan Deal said this about Georgia’s families where children are abused, or worse, murdered,“When was the last time the press or anybody else asked the greater family, ‘Why didn’t you do something about this?’ It really galls me, quite frankly, to see an able-bodied grandparent complaining about the fact that DFACS didn’t do something to protect her grandchildren. And my question is, well, where were you?’ ” (DFACS is the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services).

Where were these grandparents? US Census data from 2012 says this about grandparents and their grandchildren:

Number of grandparents living with grandchildren                    265,530
Percent responsible for grandchildren                                                  46.9
Percent of grandparents  raising  grandchildren for 5+ years          38.8
Percent of households with no parent of grandchild present           32.8
Percent of grandparents over 60 years old                                           34.1
Percent living in poverty in 2011                                                             25.2
Number of households with grandparents and grandchildren   171,939
Percent of all households in Georgia                                                        4.9

Grandparents in Georgia who care for their grandchildren are eligible for a whopping $50 per month from the state of Georgia. Have you priced diapers, day care, or children’s books lately? Fifty dollars doesn’t begin to make a dent in the costs of raising a child.

Single grandparent Deborah Paris, who is raising three grandchildren, told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer “Our system will pay a foster care parent to take care of children and supply and do what they need for them,” she said. “But me, as a relative or actually grandparent, you give me little to no assistance. … Our system is just awful.”

We need to address multiple problems concerning the welfare of children in our state. Gov Deal shouldn’t begin by making grandparents the scapegoats where the state has failed.

 

Don’t let child abusers and marital rapists hide behind religion

Sam Teasley
Sam Teasley

The AJC Political Insider reports that the Georgia Baptist Convention met last week to support a bill floating in the Georgia General Assembly sponsored by Marietta Republican Representative Sam Teasley. HB 29 will allow people accused of child and spousal abuse to use their religious beliefs as a justification for their violent and abhorrent actions. (The bill would also legislate discriminating against a person because of race, sexual orientation, their religion.)

Legislators who support HB 29 made an exception that doesn’t allow child sexual abuse, but beating a child, perhaps to death, could be claimed as justified by the abusers and/or murderers. Anything short of child sexual abuse is fair game under the law. Rape happens within marriage. When a woman says No, even to her husband, then it isn’t sex, it is marital rape. HB 29 legalizes it.

I just can’t find a way to be tolerant of beating or killing a child, or beating, raping, or murdering a spouse, because your god told you it was ok. And our legislators shouldn’t either.