“I want to follow up on your comment about the heroic role that is played by grandparents,” Senator Susan Collins said... “In Maine, between 2010 and 2015, the number of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren and being solely responsible for their care soared by 24 percent, due to the opioid epidemic.” January 9, 2018 Senate Health Committee Hearing
–211 organization provides information and contact numbers for services that can help with family addictions, food, housing, health, and support groups among other things. It’s a great starting place whether in a crisis, or just needing a little additional help.
–AARP gives helpful links to TANF, SNAP/food stamps, Medicaid/health insurance and other financial assistance programs. Input your family information, and find out what programs you qualify for, and how to apply.
–The Kinship Alliance’s The GrandKin Guide is one of THE BEST guides to understanding legal and financial terms, as well as differences between, and pros and cons of foster care, custody, guardianship and adoption. Easy to understand, and it includes some questions to ask social workers & health care professionals that you may not have thought about before.
Oregon Department of Human Services 2016 Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Older Relatives Raising Children can be viewed and/or download and is an excellent resource. Caution legal terms, laws and practices do vary from state to state.
–Childhood trauma is frequently a result of what has transpired with the birthparent(s). Dr. Bruce Perry is an expert in childhood trauma and he helps caregivers better understand and respond to the needs of traumatized infants & children in his on-line booklet “Helping Traumatized Children”.
–Drugfree.org’s website provides information, conversation guides, etc. for preventing, detecting/confirming, and dealing with teens and alcohol/drugs. One of my favorite articles, “I Think My Child is Using” gives practical tips for spotting use at home, in the car, through behaviors etc.
–Family to Family (F2F) offers contact information by states for families with children having special health care needs. The can help you navigate health care systems while providing a wealth of information, education, training, support and referral services.
–The National Respite Locator provides fast access to respite care (short breaks for caregivers) by zip code. It also makes helpful suggestions to aid you in choosing the right service providers for your family, funding, and more.
–Social Security provides two programs SSI (supplement security income based on child having a chronic disability) and OASDO (Old Age, Survivor’s and Disability Insurance based on contribution) that may be available.
-Voice for Adoption, in partnership with Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has created a guide, Judges & Court Professionals Guide to Promote Permanency for Youth in Foster Care that is most helpful in guiding anyone trying to adopt an older child and meeting agency/legal/birthparent resistance. Included are quotes from youth who were aging out of foster care and questions that judges should ask young or older children able to give input in their placement and their caseworkers.
–2016 Statistical information compiled and published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and partners that is helpful in understanding complex issues impacting child welfare state by state.
-State of Grandfamilies in America 2106 Statistical information about grandparents & other relatives raising grandchildren–compiled and published by Generations United & partners. It concentrates on Opioid Epidemic and other substance abuse issues/solutions through information, stats and personal stories. Goals for national legislation to help fund state agencies and programs nationwide.
-State of Grandfamilies 2017— Personal stories and information about grandfamilies and foster care. Focus is on trauma-informed parenting and the disparities and progress between grandfamilies and foster care. Generations United has helped shaped years of progress through their advocacy efforts.
Oregon: http://www.orparc.org/services/groups/. A list of support groups throughout the state–verified and updated once or twice a year.
Articles to help you deal with tough issues:
-2017 guest blog, by Joan:
-A teacher uses math & patterns to help students in her classroom who could become isolated, bullied or struggle with making friends with one simple weekly activity. Check out her story at the Momastery.com blog.
Everyday Health’s article “Pillow Talk Art Therapy Helps Families Talk About Cancer” provides help for families dealing with cancer but principles can easily be used for drug/ alcohol problems or terminally ill caregivers.