JACKSON COUNTY GRANDPARENTS MEET TO DISCUSS CUSTODY, CARING FOR CHILDREN
Jackson County grandparents attended a day-long, “Grandparents as Parents” event hosted by the Berea College Promise Neighborhood Initiative at the Jackson County Extension Office on October 23. The event focused on helping them understand their rights, custody standing, and legal guardianship status, with special instruction in understanding children’s development and dealing with children coming from substance abuse. Grandparents asked questions and discussed challenges they faced as primary caregivers. The event also gave grandparents information regarding adolescent behavior and how to provide positive intervention for difficult transitions children may face.
The goal of this and future events is to provide care for the caregiver. Linda Potter, Parent Engagement Specialist for Jackson County, and community partners wanted to make sure these grandparents know how appreciated they are for stepping up to care for their grandchildren. Family Court Judge Gene Clark noted just how much difference grandparents make. “If it were not for grandparents,” he said, “my court system might shut down. These kids have to go somewhere, and if the grandparents or other family does not step up, or are unable and unwilling to take care of them, they’re going to have to go to foster care….and quite frankly all of my foster care beds are full.” He said that providing help to these grandparents is essential to benefit the next generation of children who, through parental substance abuse or other reasons, have no one to take care of them except these family members.
Other presenters at the event included Carole Gnatuk, a child development specialist from the University of Kentucky; Doug Burnham, director of the Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children Training Project; Kimberley Collett, supervisor at the Department for Community Based Services; Linda Potter, Parent Engagement Specialist for Promise Neighborhood; and Neal Broadus, Dropout Prevention/Parent Involvement Coordinator for the Jackson County Public Schools.
Future monthly or bi-monthly group meetings will continue to provide assistance to grandparents raising their grandchildren. In these meetings they can share their experiences as well as receive legal advice regarding custody, adoption and foster parent issues. For more information about future meetings and topics contact Linda Potter at (606) 287-7505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.