RUPERT (WVDN) – For generations, Greenbrier County residents have accepted and embraced the grandfamily concept as a model for family strength and support. Family members who are retired or not employed often provide childcare for extended family who cannot provide it due to health, employment commitments or substance abuse.
According to the West Virginia State University Extension Service Healthy Grandfamilies program, one in 14 children in West Virginia is a product of a grandfamily home with West Virginia being fourth in the nation for grandparents raising their grandchildren.
What does a grandparent do when their dear, little ones need that daily care — the open door after school, the new clothes, the small sum of cash for a school activity? Many choose to become the full-time caregiver so that their grandchild, niece or nephew can have a more stable lifestyle. Yet, at the same time, there is a financial stress on the caregivers.
There is also a physical stress for a caregiver who is older than the average parent through constant physical activity, mental stress and children’s needs for attention. There is also a financial stress on many grandparents’ fixed income.
West Virginia State University Extension Service Healthy Grandfamilies program helps connect family caregivers to the services available in their local area. In Greenbrier County, a combination of social services agencies is making this available.
The Greenbrier County office of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, WVU Extension and Greenbrier County Schools have partnered with WVSU to make this training and aid program available in Greenbrier County.
This program has support, answers and many forms of help from a large number of area businesses.
Reports on the benefits of the program show that 13.8% of participants reported improved sleep. Overall health improvement was reported by the program participants as well.
On Monday, Nov. 14, a Grandfamily Fair was held in Rupert by the Greenbrier County Family Support Center with 15 agencies set up to offer aid to further support these extended families who want to provide for their own little ones.
If you have not had the chance to examine this program and see how it might help your childcare situation, call Paula McCoy at the Greenbrier County Board of Education at 304-647-6457 or email pbMcCoy@K12.wv.us for more information. Information on the WVSU Extension Service Healthy Grandfamilies program can be found at http://healthygrandfamilies.com/
|The joys of being a great-grandparent cannot be quantified, the emotional benefits to both the elderly and the youth are immense. Photo by Carolyn Cleaton.|
|In a private home the child’s experience playing and learning with siblings or cousins can be a great social interaction, and the security of it being in a grandparent or great-grandparent’s house is precious. Photo by Carolyn Cleaton.|