observance of Grandparents Day state praises
grandparents raising their grandchildren
Dept on Aging funds support services for
grandparents who need assistance to provide a stable environment for
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[September 06, 2014]
SRINGFIELD - September 5, 2014.
In observance of Grandparents Day this Sunday, September 7, Illinois
Department on Aging (IDoA) Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., praises
grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and reminded about
support services. A grandparent who lives with and is responsible
for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren, ages 18 and
younger, is a primary caregiver. It’s estimated more than 100,000
grandparents in Illinois serve as the primary caregivers for their
grandchildren because the parents are unable to.
The occurrence of grandparents raising grandchildren (or other child
relatives) is not new but nationally the number of children being
raised by people other than a parent has dramatically increased.
Factors that contribute to grandparents raising their grandchildren
include drugs and alcohol abuse, health issues, death, divorce and
incarceration. In Illinois, more than 220,000 children under age 18,
live in homes with grandparents serving as the primary caregivers.
“We mark this Grandparents Day observance by thanking grandparents
who have stepped up to do another round of raising children. And for
those with limited resources there is help with the physical,
emotional and financial stresses that accompany raising
grandchildren,” said Director Holton.
IDoA has a program called Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG)
to help with efforts to locate, assist and promote awareness of
grandparents (of any age) as well as other relatives, who are
currently raising their family’s children. Created in 1996, GRG
offers numerous services that may help during difficult times. The
program is a referral service to local resources, such as support
groups and legal assistance. And in some cases GRG provides
emergency financial assistance for such needs as utility bills,
medications, food and clothing.
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IDoA awards grants to non-profit organizations to
fund initiatives addressing the needs of GRG. The grants fund local
resources for services, such as: legal assistance to secure
guardianship, establish custody and/or back up plans when the
grandparents are no longer able to provide care; therapeutic help
for children who have lost a parent or significant caregiver through
death, divorce or abandonment; advocacy and mentoring; counseling;
and respite care. The IDoA budget for FY15 includes $300,000 for GRG
grants to support groups.
For more information about Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, call
the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966 (or TTY for the hearing impaired
at 888-206-1327) or visit the IDoA website at
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING]