A two-year-old boy with wild blond hair screams in the middle of a parking lot when his mother tries to pick him up.
“No I wanna stay with grandma and sissy! Please don’t make me go with you!” he screams with tears running down his face. His two sisters with matching blonde hair cry and beg their mother to let him stay. His grandmother watches from a few feet away and knows she can’t do much about it. She has custody of two of her daughter’s children but not the youngest boy.
According to the United States Census, there were 6.6 million children living with a grandparent in 2008. 482,000 of these grandparents have incomes below the poverty line. Lorrie and Lee Casto are part of that statistic. They are raising their daughter Amber’s three children, Sonya, Paige, and Seth. Sonya is 9-years-old, Paige is 4 and Seth is 2.
Sonya, Lorrie’s oldest granddaughter, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after her mother’s boyfriend beat and emotionally abused her for years. “He beat her so hard one day that his class ring was stamped into her face for a week,” Lorrie said. “I knew I had to get those kids away from her.”