A growing number of children being raised by grandparents and other guardians continues to drive a coalition of community agencies that support such families.
The Northeast Guardians as Parents Coalition has scheduled four information sessions for the 2013-14 school year, all of them addressing issues that arise when grandparents and other relatives assume the role of parents.
The coalition, which was founded with the name “Grandparents as Parents,” changed its name as more and more other relatives took on parenthood roles in Greenup County, said coordinator Tammy Steele.
Sessions are scheduled for Sept. 27, Nov. 8, Feb. 14 and April 11, all from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Greenup County Extension Agency, which is at the intersection of U.S. 23 and the Industrial Parkway in Wurtland.
Numbers of children living with relatives or guardians other than their parents have risen, Steele said. In the Greenup County School District alone, the latest statistics show 346 such children. The numbers include 250 with grandparents, 49 with aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives, and 47 in foster care.
The September session, led by Kelly Adkins-Conley, addresses conflict resolution. Conley is program director for Necco, a family-owned agency that places children in homes in Northeast Kentucky.
Conley will talk about child mental health issues, learning disorders, problem-solving strategies and effective discipline.
The November session will have an academic focus, which is especially important for older grandparents who have not dealt with schools for some years, Steele said.
The session also will address the transition from the typically indulgent grandparent relationship to the more stringent parental relationship, she said.
In February the focus will be on legal matters, such as rights of guardians and the process to adopt.
The April topic will be self-care, also important to older grandparents who often focus on the children and neglect their own physical and emotional health issues.
Each session will be led by an expert speaker.
Lunch will be served and door prizes awarded.
Grandparents or guardians interested in participating may contact Steele at 473-1447 to make arrangements or for more information.
The coalition recently has expanded its range to include Ashland, so grandparents and guardians from there also may participate.
The coalition is made up of community agencies including the FIVCO Area Development District, the extension office, the Greenup County McKinney-Vento Program, and family resource centers from Greenup County, Raceland-Worthington, Russell and Ashland Independent school districts.
MIKE JAMES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2652.