NEW HAVEN - In honor of National Grandparents Day on Sept. 11, The Consultation Center will hold a meeting for grandparents who are raising grandchildren to find out more about their Grandparents Program from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 12.
Since 1995, The Consultation Center has been providing grandparents with a range of services and supports, including group meetings both days and evenings, newsletter, parenting skills training, respite opportunities and legislative advocacy. In addition there are many opportunities for socializing for families, grandparents and children. The meeting is open to the public for any grandparent raising grandchildren in the Greater New Haven area. Membership is free of charge. The meeting is at 389 Whitney Ave.
The estimated number of grandparent-headed households in Connecticut according to the last census, completed in 2010; put the number of children in direct care of a grandparent at about 46,000. This is an increase of 6,000 families in the last 10 years. Professionals working with families suggest the actual number may actually be even greater.
In the current economic crisis sometimes the loss of a job can create the loss of a home. When parents cannot pay the rent or the mortgage and are struggling with financial crisis they turn to their own parents for help. Most families pull together in the crisis, sharing the limited resources they have.
Children sometimes need to move into the home of their grandparents, sometimes with a parent, sometimes without either parent. At other times parents fall prey to the ugliness of substance abuse. Teen pregnancies and single parenthood and mental health issues fuel the phenomenon. Today, more and more, divorce is the reason that grandparents are playing a larger role in raising grandchildren.
How are grand families managing this important role?
For the most part they are doing a fantastic job. Research tells us that children cared for by their grandparents are doing well. The trauma and loss they experience from the breakdown of their family is significantly diminished because in most cases their lives remain intact otherwise. We can be proud of Connecticut grandparents that rise to the challenge of parenting for the second time. For many managing the issues of aging and limited retirement income is a daily challenge. Learning to parent in a new age can require some training and support as the rules of child rearing change with the times.
Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. It is lightly edited here and posted as a public service.