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Opioid abuse has made thousands of Americans
incapable of caring for their children,
and that has drawn attention to grandparents,
many of whom are receiving the same phone call
from child protective services or law enforcement...
“When you get the call and there’s never been a
formal removal, the options are going to be:
come get the kids or they are going into foster care”.
“My ex-husband that received the call because
they knew I was at work and they did call me
to inform me: ‘What should we do?’ "
When they get that call
and decide to raise their grandchild,
they become a new kind of caregiver,
“I mean at that stage, I was already raised
my own children and now you have to start all over.”
No longer a typical grandparent, but not a parent either.
“We are the ones who hear the crying at night.
We're the ones that go to the schools
when they have Mother’s Day events,
but yet we're grandma.
How about Father’s Day?
Well, I could make a mustache and put on a hat and go.
Well, I did whatever I had to do.
Whatever I had to do!”
There’s actually a name for this: it's called "Kinship Care"
It’s a type of child-raising that has always existed,
but it is becoming more common.
For over twenty years, Jerry Wallace has been
advocating for kinship caregivers in New York State.
Sometimes even bringing his pet dog Cookie with him.
"Yeah?"
"No! Cookie you gotta go!"
"I'll put her right out."
He was recently in Rockland County,
visiting caregivers at a monthly support group.
“When parents aren’t there anymore
death, you know, tragedies or what not
relatives have stepped in and raised children.
In non-relative foster care, the government places
places a child with a family and provides
services that include legal assistance,
financial benefits, and case management.
But in kinship care, the situation can be different.
If they receive a call, the relative has to make a choice:
Become a licensed foster parent,
which is called “formal kinship”,
or volunteer to raise the child on their own without
official custody in what's known as "informal kinship".
In the US,
around 130,000 children live in formal kinship,
and nearly 2.5 million live in informal kinship care.
Those who choose to participate in the foster care
system have access to government services.
But that can include regular visits from
child protective services,
court appearances,
or mandated caregiver training,
all of which can be disruptive
for the child and the grandparents.
So, many people opt for an informal kinship,
which has less official involvement but also
limits access to resources that can help raise the child.
Unlike most foster parents,
informal kinship caregivers can have trouble
enrolling kids in schools
and accessing medical services and other benefits
because they may lack legal custody of the children.
Kinship families might not have access
to typical foster care services,
but there are a few programs that offer help.
Like the child-only grant:
a temporary assistance benefit that
provides a small amount of money
to help care for the child.
"You’re taking children into your home that
you didn't anticipate having,
and all of a sudden, you have a kid
who needs school supplies, he needs sneakers --
I constantly hear about sneakers
and the cost of sneakers."
The problem is, there’s no easy way
to find out about that help.
“If you don’t go the foster care route
and you’re on your own,
it's the luck of the draw whether you're even
going to find out that there are services.
Maybe you’re one grandma who said to me:
'Child protective services gave me my grandchild
eight years ago,
this is the first time I’ve found out there’s help.'
So that’s just because there hasn’t been
the procedural mechanisms to make sure
that it didn’t happen.”
The Rockland County support group helps
bridge that gap.
Once a month, they meet at
Volunteer Counseling Service, where
Rosa Serrano-Delgado is the program director.
“When I was hired in this position about
I think it was, maybe, 12 years now,
I had never heard of the term ‘kinship’.
I really had never heard of the term ‘kinship’.”
“What you would you have needed?
What would have been helpful to you
you know, as you are entering this journey
of raising these children.?”
"It is due to the pandemic, the opioid pandemic
that we have here and many people are...
Knows somebody that has lost a loved one."
“This population, of families raising a relative’s child,
were lacking support.
Everyone else seemed to have something in place,
but not these kinship families.”
But even if caregivers are made
fully aware of their options,
they still might avoid formal kinship
because of the approval process.
“Sometimes the concern is,
I am older, I’m not making a lot of money,
So how is this going to affect the way they view me?
Are they going to see me as capable?
Am I physically capable of raising this child
or these children.
Do I have enough resources?
The other stigma that I’ve heard,
which is really interesting, is that
they are afraid that people
might judge them because obviously something
has happened with your child,
that they're not able to care for their own child,
So what kind of parent were you?”
Kinship caregivers can feel isolated
and that’s where these support groups come in
“They really feel that they are amongst a group
of people that really get them,
that really understand them,
that they can really be honest with."
“You know, 'Why is grandma raising the child?’
and, ‘Where are the parents?’
And, well, don’t question it so much,
we all have different situations at hand.”
“I tried counseling, the emotional stuff,
which still is visible at times.”
“Absolutely.
That’s a big one: emotional, right?
Sometimes they believe that you’re keeping
my dad or my mom away from me.
You know?
'You did something to keep mom or dad away from me!' ”
“And sometimes the parent is angry at you
because you’re caring for the child, is that correct
Right!
Groups like these are providing crucial support to
kinship families in communities across America.
In New York, Jerry runs a website and hotline
that points kinship caregivers towards
local, state, and federal services.
Like Rosa’s support group in Rockland County.
“We’re keeping kids out of foster care
because they can go live with their families.
That doesn’t mean we should abandon those families.
We should provide them the minimal supports
they need to really help these kids
have good outcomes.”
There is also a financial benefit to kinship care.
In a recent report, a grandparents advocacy group
estimated that kinship care saves taxpayers $4 billion
every year by keeping children out of foster care.
In spite of the benefits, kinship caregivers continue
to struggle in a fragmented system.
“What really needs to be done, is
every state needs a specialized kinship program
with the outreach dollars to reach down in
the community and the coordination with the
other service systems so that they are aware of them,
so that these families are contacted.
Whether it’s the education system,
mental health services, or the courts,
they should all be pointing these families to someone
who knows what to tell them about resources
and about their rights.”
コツ:単語をクリックしてすぐ意味を調べられます!

読み込み中…

The opioid crisis is making grandparents become parents again

104 タグ追加 保存
陳思源 2017 年 12 月 8 日 に公開
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