Fox 13 Good Morning Memphis 'Program for Family Caregivers' 2/15/11

What does grandparenting look like in our community?

Almost 25,000 (10%) Shelby County children live with a grandparent householder. 11, 422 (47%) of these children are very young (less than 6 years old). The median family income of grandparent householder responsible for grandchild in which no parent in present is $22,400. Thirty percent of grandparents who are responsible for grandchildren are impoverished.

When are grandparents likely to assume a larger role in raising children?

Since the 1980s, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of urban, poor and non-white families in which a single mother and her child live with her parents. Parents turn to their own parents for help during times of transition. Major life changes - divorce, illness, loss of a job and substance abuse- are events that precipitate the formation of multi-generational families. Grandparents step in when no parent is available, due to financial hardship, substance abuse, or prison.

How do multi-generational families benefit young children and promote early brain development?

Grandparents play many roles in the lives of their young grandchildren. The presence of a grandparent can reduce household stress, which can negatively impact early brain development. Grandparents provide family roots and often mediate between their children and grandchildren. They often impart child-rearing wisdom and serve as positive role models & child care providers. In addition, they can support the cognitive and emotional growth of infants and toddlers by reciting family stories and songs and providing comfort during tough times. Grandparents limit transience and instability, improving the developmental outcomes for young children.

What is the Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program?

The Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program is a comprehensive public/private collaboration designed to support children whose parents are not able to raise them. Program staff respects what is unique and special within each family and providers accurate easy-to-follow information about existing resources available to families. Staff works to eliminate gaps in service. They offer caregiver support groups, information and referral, groups for kids and teens, education and informational workshops, respite and recreation, family advocacy, emergency financial and/or start-up assistance. The project is funded under an agreement with the TN Department of Children's Services.