Opioid epidemic creates more grandparent led families in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY -- When parents can't care for their children, often the best place for the kids to go is with their grandparents, according to the staff at the Children's Service Society.

"We know if the child stays with the grandparents, their chances to go to high school, their chances to stay out of drugs, their chances to stay out of the justice system are much higher than if they go into the foster care," said Encarni Gallardo, Executive Director of the CSS.

Gallardo says 100,000 Utah kids live in grandparents' homes, with 45,000 of them living without their parents in the home at all.

On Wednesday, the CSS gathered in Salt Lake City to watch a remote feed of what was called the GrandRally in Washington D.C., bringing attention to the growth in grandparent led households across the country.

Eight-year-old Josh says living with his grandparents has made life far better after his mom showed she couldn't take care of him.

"If you have a mom or a dad that's not good, grandparents are a lot better," Josh said.

Reinna Molloy is raising her grandson, and says she felt lost and alone without the support groups and other services provided by the CSS.

"Feeling like I'm the only one out there doing this was the most horrible thing in the world," she said.