Although one-quarter (25%) of custodial grandparents live in rural areas, less is known about these families than their urban counterparts. This qualitative study was conducted to determine pathways into care with rural families; that is, the reasons and process into custodial grandparenting roles. Based upon interviews with fourteen grandparents, three major pathways were identified. The most common was co-residential, where the parent generation exited a multi-generational household. In the incremental pathway, grandparents had attempted multiple strategies with the culmination of taking physical custody of the grandchildren. A final pathway, immediate care, was typically the result of a family crisis situation. Needs and challenges for custodial grandparents differ depending upon their unique pathway into this caregiving role.
Kropf, Nancy P. and Robinson, Margaret M., "Pathways into Caregiving for Rural Custodial Grandparents" (2004). Social Work Faculty Publications. Paper 14.