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This research proposal seeks to study and come up with facts and recommendations on the rising challenge of the grandparents having to take on the task of raising children in today’s society. These are children who have lost their parents either temporarily through such factors as pressure from employment, substance and incarceration or permanently by death through the effect of HIV/AIDS. With the U.S. Census showing that 4.5 million children live in households headed by grandparents, who represent an increase of 30% between the year 1990 and 2000, there is a need for more investment in the topic (Lamanna, 2012).

Even though several studies have been done on this topic, most of the findings have remained elusive with the scholars seeking to counter each other’s work because of the biases that accompanies such studies. There is thus a need for an independent study to establish clear facts concerning the challenges that this new arrangement has presented to the parents, the children themselves and the larger society which has to live with the resulting overall challenges. This research would also contribute to the building of sociological theories, such as those related to the family unit, including gender identity and child development theories. The write up proposes that there is no enough extensive and accurate information relating to grandparenthood and therefore the need for more research.

Subject for Study

This study targets parents, children, relevant private and government agencies, and policy makers. For effectiveness, this study will narrow down its coverage to the state of Georgia which alongside with such states like Tennessee and North Carolina, has since experienced significant increase in the cases of grandparents who are taking over the role of primary parenting (Whitney, 2007). My focus on Georgia has been informed by the fact that the region has a number of programs directly relevant to this study. The area has since been referred to as a model for the development of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the relevant agencies concerned with the issue of parenthood. Data will therefore be collected from ACF Regional Office as well as other states and local agencies such as the kingship Care center.

Specifically, the interview will target those who provide information and assistance to these grandparents, those trained to provide support groups services, as well as those who take part in the public education services. Among the government agencies, the interview will also target the office of the Commissioner for the Department of Human Resource (DHR). This will allow the collection of information regarding grandparent liaison at the county offices. Special training programs aspiring grandparents’ liaison like the Georgia Kingship Navigator program, which trains those who want to be grandparent liaisons at the offices of DHR and the division of Family and Children Services (Whitney, 2007).

During this study, I will use stratified sampling to obtain a well representative sample population. In the stratified sampling, I will categorize my sample to include children who are taken care of by their grandparents; grandparent’s taking care of children, parents, and officers from the private and public agencies. The study will then use systematic sampling to choose representatives from each of these strata. The study will specifically consider 100 children, 80 parents, 80 grandparents, 10 officers from both the government and the private agencies, and finally 10 participants from the child help/welfare institutions.

By the use of systematic sampling, the study will ensure a representative population sample. That is, it will consider all the local areas while also reflecting the proportion of these strata in the lager population. For example, sampling fraction for the children and grandparents will be higher than that of the other officers, because they form a higher percentage.

Measurement

The key variables in this study will include: the number of children and grandparents and the challenges they face; the efficiencies of both the public and the private agencies, and finally the various programs aimed at addressing the challenges and their effectiveness. Both the number of children parented by their grandfather and the number of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren will be obtained from the respective local and government agencies, such as the U.S. Bureau of Statistics and the Administration for Children and Families. The parents and the children will also be interviewed on the extent of such challenges as financial, emotional and psychological facing them. This will help in the evaluation of the various governments’ intervention programs. It will also help in coming up with trends and explaining their causal factors.

Data Collection

The data will be collected using survey through the administration of the questionnaire. The sample population will be drawn from Georgia State particularly around Atlanta Metropolitan areas. There will be specific interview guides for the children, the parents, the grandparents, and the agencies officers who shall have been chosen as per the ratio indicated. A total of 10 research assistants will also be trained to administer the questionnaires. As illustrated in the timeline, this will take two weeks. It will be done in the areas around the college, but with similar categories of people as will be considered during the main research.

Observation will particularly help the interviewers to ascertain the accuracy and reliability of the information given by the respondent. This would be through observing the way they react to various questions. Observation will also help in studying the challenges facing the children and the grandparents. The interviews will be very instrumental to the study since it will allow the coverage of all the relevant areas as well as directing the process. It will also reduce wastage on resources such as time, labor and money, which would have resulted from the collection of irrelevant information. Such resource wastage would result, if such methods as experiment which is costly in terms of money and time are used (Westfall, 2009).

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