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More than 60,000 Arizonans part of 'grandfamilies'

Posted at 9:12 PM, Sep 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 00:12:51-04

Titus was just born when Cece Vance got the call from California. Her son was battling addiction and needed her to take the infant.

"I had three weeks to prepare," she said. "I didn't have the money to do it."

But Vance sprang into action anyway. She drove 18 hours to California to plead her case to the court before the state took the baby.

"I have 13 grandchildren. This is one of my grandchildren and they're in trouble. How is the state going to dictate to me if I can have my grandchild or not?" she said.

As Titus grew, expenses did too as Vance had to leave work.

She found some support through the group Duet, a non-profit that offers services like legal guidance and respite assistance.

The experience has also inspired her to start her own non-profit, 2nd Time Parenting, providing backpacks and baskets full of necessities and more.

"We let them know they're not alone, there's support. You're able to encourage them to hang in there, give them some resources," she said.

According to Duet, there are more than 60,000 grandparents across the state raising grandchildren. Many who are retirees are on fixed incomes. Some even have to go back to work to make ends meet.

Cece said she regrets nothing. Titus is now a 6-year-old and thriving.

"For most grandparents, it's their flesh and blood. You don't give your flesh and blood away for someone else to raise," she said.