Are you A Grandparent Raising a Grandchild?
About 57,000 children are being raised by grandparents and other relatives in Canada. There is very little in the way of support for these children, and there is even less support for the grandparents.
Here's what some grandparents are saying about the issues they face when raising a grandchild:
- "As grandparents we may have had no mental, emotional, or financial preparation when we began raising our grandchildren. It can be more than overwhelming. Everything, from needing diapers and formula, an appropriate car seat for the toddler, to dealing with a drug-addicted son or daughter, may need to be addressed."
- "This is not what we expected to be doing in our golden years, but here we are- we are raising our grandchildren because they need our help and love."
- "We are raising children that we had most likely not expected to be raising."
These facts can be overwhelming at times. When children are taken from a parent and raised by another, there are always reasons, and those reasons are often accompanied with trauma, sorrow and grief.If everything were going great, chances are, the children would still be their parents.
The Port Alberni Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circle offers a free self-help support group for grandparents who are currently raising their grandchildren. Grandparents raising grandchildren are welcome to attend each week to gain encouragement and support. Speakers are invited in to address the group's needs on matters such as finance, legal issues, stress and local resources. A steering committee comprised of various local members is available to provide guidance and support to facilitators and support group participants.
Here's some of what the grandparents say about going to this group:
- "It helps me to meet other grandparents who have the same feelings and questions that I have."
- "The facilitators are wonderful, kind, caring, of good spirit & concerned for how and what they do."
- "It really helps, you are not alone and it gives you the opportunity to talk about your real feelings (good and bad)."
Because of donations from the community and the groups fundraising efforts, the group is free and child minding subsidy can be provided if needed. At ongoing weekly meetings, the grandparents decide the discussion topics and guest speakers are invited periodically to speak on relevant matters. Occasionally, the grandparents arrange social "get-togethers" outside of the group meeting setting.
Interest in facilitating the group is always welcome, and a comprehensive training program is provided for screened volunteers. Grandparents and those interested in facilitating, can find out more about this free group by calling 723-1117 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more at Parent Support Services at Parent Support BC