The Family Enrichment Center, Inc. has successfully provided innovative and comprehensive community-based services for over 24 years and it continues to demonstrate leadership in child welfare services in the county. The agency’s Grandparent’s Assistance Program was the first program started in Hillsborough County to address the needs of this very under-served, but overly stressed family unit with some of the county’s most vulnerable and high risk children. GAP served more than 1,00 families since it’s inception in 1999 and averages 165 families and 150 children annually until it was merged with FEC’s Kinship Care Program. when services were expanded to include other relative and fictive kin caregivers. Kinship care is not new to our communities.
More than one in 12 American children are living in homes headed by grandparents and other relatives? In many of these homes, “kinship caregivers” are raising the children by themselves, with little outside support. Some of these grandparents thought their days of raising children were over long ago. Now, suddenly, they find themselves changing diapers and helping children with homework all over again.
It’s hard for any family to raise children, but it can be especially hard for grandparents and other relative caregivers. They may be older individuals with health problems of their own. The children they are bringing up may have special needs. It’s exhausting and expensive to raise grandchildren, but these “silent saviors” say they wouldn’t have it any other way. By raising their grandchildren, they are raising the community’s children. It’s a labor of love.
Ten Ways to Say Thank You to Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children
By giving just an hour or two of your time, you can say “thank you” to one of the many kinship care families in your community:
- Run errands or help around the house
- Offer to baby-sit
- Give the family a night out or a meal in
- Tell them how much you appreciate them
- Volunteer your talents and professional services
- Drop by their house with a surprise
- Go with them to important appointments
- Provide transportation for kinship care families
- Invite them to events with their children
- Be a sounding board
List excerpted from the Kinship care resource kit of the Children’s Defense Fund
To access the entire resource kit, copy and paste the following into your web browser: