Our Opinion: Addressing a growing need for grandparents

The Sandwich Generation is the term used to refer to parents who care for their own parents while raising their own children.

But how do we characterize families where those parents are absent and grandparents are caring for their grandchildren?

Those situations are not uncommon. About 50,000 Missouri children live in homes where grandparents are the primary caregivers and more than 20,000 have no parents present in the home.

To help those grandparents, or other relatives, recognize they are not alone and resources are available, a day-long conference is being organized by area schools, churches and agencies.

The conference — “Grandparents and Kinship Caregivers Raising Families” — will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 24 at First Baptist Church, 301 E. Capitol Ave.

There is no cost for the seminar, which includes lunch, but attendance is limited to the first 100 participants. Call 634-3606 to register.

In addition to the church, organizers include: Jefferson City Public Schools, Central Missouri Community Action Agency, AARP Jefferson City Chapter, Cole County Juvenile Court and the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association.

Breakout sessions at the event will include: School resources for students and families; health care for each family member; communicating with today’s kids; overcoming financial challenges; and legal issues for caregivers.

Harry Kennedy, an AARP member and event organizer, said: “So often grandparents have been out of circulation from the schools. But because of incarcerations, drug abuses and just difficult finances, their grandchildren are being brought back into the homes.”

He added: “We want to let them know they are not alone, and there are resources out there.”

We commend the organizers for recognizing the growing need for this community service. Linking grandparents with available resources not only helps them, it provides immeasurable benefits for the young people.

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