exactly the same reasons, but the law will treat the non-parent
caretakers differently. This Article argues that it is time to reconsider
and expand the rights of psychological parents in order to reflect
current mores and to better protect the child in the judicial system.
III. The Phenomenon of Non-Traditional Families is Growing
The number of children living in households maintained by
grandparents or other relatives is increasing nationwide. While the
number of children living in households with no legal parent present
has remained at a steady 4 percent over the last fifty years,21 the
number of grandparent-head households—households that may or
may not include a legal parent—increased from 3 percent to 5
percent between 1970 and 1992.22 In 1970, 2.2 million children lived
in grandparent-head households, 2.3 million in 1980, and 3.3 million
in 1992.23 This trend became even more noteworthy in 1992, when
the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives held hearings on the
growing numbers of “grandparents as parents.”24 By 1997, the
number further increased to 3.9 million children (5.5 percent), and 31
percent of those children had no legal parent living in the family
household.25 By 2012, the number of grandparent-head households
reached 5.4 million,26 and of that number, 1.45 million children were
living in households with no legal parent present.27 In fact, a total of
21 See U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, LIVING ARRANGEMENTS OF CHILDREN: 1960 TO 2012,
22 KEN BRYSON & LYNNE M. CASPER, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, CURRENT
POPULATION REPORTS, SPECIAL STUDIES: CORESIDENT GRANDPARENTS AND
GRANDCHILDREN 1 (1999), http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/p23-198.pdf.
26 See Profile America Facts for Features, Grandparents Day 2012: Sept. 9, U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU NEWS (July 31, 2012),
27 See America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, tbl.C4, U.S. CENSUS
BUREAU, http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html (last visited Apr.