By April Miller
The Tucker County Family Resource Center (TCFRC) is piloting a new program that supports grandparents raising their grandchildren. It is designed to help grandparents adjust to being the sole or primary guardian of their grandchildren. This first session of this 8-week program began on March 3 with eight grandparents in attendance and 13 children. Healthy Grandfamilies is a state wide initiative coordinated by West Virginia State University.
“I was excited to see such a great turnout.” Stated Sandra Bohon, Director of the TCFRC. “Supporting families in Tucker County is what we are all about and these grandparents play a very special role in taking on the responsibility of caring for their grandchildren.” Bohon stated.
According to the Children’s Home Society, there were more than 22,000 children in kinship care in West Virginia in 2018. Kinship care means children that are being raised by relatives or, a close family friend. According to local data there are 42 kinship care homes raising over 45 children right here in Tucker County.
During the first session, Angie Davis and Billie Jo Haddox of the Allegheny Highlands Parents As Teachers Program (AHPAT) gave a presentation on Family Relationships.
“The grandparents shared a lot about how times have changed since they raised their own children. They all expressed that their goal is to keep their family together, but that they were experiencing difficulties with navigating the current system.” Stated Haddox.
“I was impressed by how engaged the participants were during the session. I can see relationships already being built between the grandparents who attended. Person to person support is very important and will help these families through challenging events that may arise.” Stated Angie Davis, Director of AHPAT.
“Our goal is to make the program as accessible as possible to local grandparents.” stated April Miller, Executive Director of the TC Family Resource Network. “Childcare, homework-help and dinner is being provided free of charge.
Local businesses are also stepping up providing food. Special thanks to The Dugout for providing dinner for the first session.” Stated Miller.
Tucker County Healthy Grandfamilies will continue to meet weekly at the Tucker County BOE building in Parsons, on Tuesdays, from 5 – 8 p.m. The next session will be led by the Centers Against Violence Program and cover the topic of “Technology and Addiction”. Food will be provided by MR Pizza. Grandparents and kinship providers are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you would like to learn more about this project contact the Tucker County Family Resource Network at 304-478-3827, also “like”us on Facebook at Tucker County Family Resource Network and Family Resource Center for day-to day announcements.