SPRINGFIELD – On the day before tomorrow’s Grandparents Day, Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Director Charles D. Johnson is applauding the efforts of some special grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. While Director Johnson recognizes their sacrifice, he reminds that there are resources available to assist.
“It is no small deed for grandparents to take on the role of primary caregiver to their grandchildren and these days we see more grandparents are taking on that role for children whose parents are unable to do so. And to those with limited resources, we want them to know they are not alone and we are here to help,” said IDoA Director Johnson. “I want to thank these special grandparents for taking on another round of parenthood by assuring them that we are doing more to help them provide a stable environment for their grandchildren.”
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program helps with efforts to locate, assist and promote awareness of older caregivers who are currently raising their family’s children. Created in 1996, the Grandparents program offers numerous services that may help during difficult times. The program provides financial assistance for emergency needs, utility bills, medications, food and clothing. The program also offers referral services to local resources, such as support groups and legal assistance.
IDoA awards grants through the Grandparent Raising Grandchildren Program to not-for-profit organizations to establish support groups and fund initiatives addressing the needs of kinship families in Illinois. In FY09, 42 grants, ranging in amounts from $500 to $26,000, were awarded which totaled more than $348,000. Services provided by the grants included legal assistance, child care, emergency needs, case management, workshops, training and the establishment of support groups.
Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren may also take advantage of supplemental services provided through the Illinois Family Caregiver Support Program, which include legal assistance, assistance with purchasing prescription drugs, transportation, school supplies and any other gap filling services, which attempt to address a short-term caregiver emergency.
For more information about the services and programs that the Illinois Department on Aging provides to grandparents and other relatives who are raising children, visit www.state.il.us/aging or call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only) call 1-888-206-1327.