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As we celebrate Grandparents Day, I want like to thank those
individuals who have taken on the extra responsibility of raising
their grandchildren. There are more than 100,000 older people in the
state of Illinois who are taking care of their family's children,
while more than 200,000 children under the age of 18 are living in a
Often, with compassion and great sacrifice, grandparents step
outside of the traditional role and selflessly raise their
grandchildren. These "silent saviors" may have few resources or
family members for support. They may have retired early to care for
their grandchildren or returned to work in order to support them.
They may be in their 40s or their 80s. It can happen to anyone, at
any time and for any reason.
[to top of second column in this letter]
Thankfully, there are programs available to
assist relatives raising children -- [programs] that are accessible
through the Illinois Department on Aging. In fact, Gov. Rod
Blagojevich doubled the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program's
funding this year. The program provides assistance with paying for
emergency needs, utility bills, medications, food and clothing and
offers referral services to local resources.
This Sunday, let's honor grandparents, whether they are
traditional grandparents, long-distance grandparents or grandparents
raising grandchildren. To show your appreciation, share the Illinois
Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine toll-free number,
1-800-252-8966, with grandparents who are raising grandchildren, to
make sure they are receiving the assistance and support they
Charles D. Johnson
Director, Illinois Department on Aging
(Posted Sept. 9, 2006)
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