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Raising the Grandkids Becoming a More Common Scenerio

PHOTO: September is Grandparent Kinship Month. Most grandparents never imagine they’ll have to raise their grandchildren, but many step up when the mother and father are unable. Photo: grandparent and child. Courtesy PCSAO.
PHOTO: September is Grandparent Kinship Month. Most grandparents never imagine they’ll have to raise their grandchildren, but many step up when the mother and father are unable. Photo: grandparent and child. Courtesy PCSAO.
September 13, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Most grandparents never imagine they'll have to raise their grandchildren, but it's becoming more common for them to step up when the mother and father are unable.

In Ohio, nearly 7 percent of children are being raised by grandparents or other kinship providers.

Patrick Donovan, kinship coordinator at Muskingum County Children Services and co-president of the Ohio Grandparent Kinship Coalition, says these are children who often come from situations where they suffered trauma or emotional distress and need special supports.

"The parent was not able to care for that child, so there's a lot of issues that these children face,” he explains. “It could be a pretty vast array of services that a lot of these caregivers will need to be able to provide a good, nurturing environment."

Donovan says kinship caregivers need help with health insurance, financial assistance, employment services and mental health care.

Today at the Ohio Grandparent Kinship Coalition Bi-Annual Conference in Columbus, caregivers, professionals and local leaders are connecting and learning about resources, services and opportunities available that can ensure kinship families receive the support they need to provide a good home.

Natalie Latham, a grandparent kinship provider from Zanesville, brought her four grandchildren into her home six years ago, and has legal custody.

She says without the assistance of the Kinship Program it would have been nearly impossible to care for the children and she's grateful they've been able to stay together as a family.

"After having to go through all that emotional turmoil with separating from a biological parent,” she says, “I wouldn't even be able to tell you how important I think it is to have a family member step in, instead of a perfect stranger."

Donovan says resources like today's conference are helping to create more situations where foster children stay with loved ones. He adds that it's been proven time and time again that children in a kinship care situation have better outcomes.

"When I say better outcomes, that means they do better in school,” he says. “There are less negative behaviors in that we see in school, and overall they just become more productive citizens for our local communities."

September is Grandparent Kinship Month.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH