A GrandFamily/Kinship Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, November 15 at the Divine Holiness Outreach Center in Caruthersville Missouri located at 1109 E. 18th Street from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
The conference is free, but pre-registration is required to insure adequate seating, materials and lunch. To register, you may the Pemiscot County University of Missouri Extension Office at 573-333-0258. The registration deadline is November 9th.
The reason that the conference is referred to as a GrandFamily conference is that it includes other family members such as aunts and uncles or other family members who have taken the responsibility of raising a grandchild.
There is a tremendous need for such a conference. Grandparent headed households have increased by 73 percent since 1970. Reasons for this growing social phenomenon include drug and alcohol abuse, unwed teen parents, divorce, illness, unemployment, incarceration, mental health problems, and HIV/AIDS. Regardless of the reason there is a real need for resources for those who assist with raising their grandchildren.
According to the 2000 Census, over 2.4 million grandparents were the primary caregiver of the grandchild. Grandparent caregivers can be divided into three categories. These are (1) Grandparents with legal or formal relationship have gone to court and have acquired this legal status by adoption, guardianship, or custody; (2) Grandparents without legal relationships are providing the basic needs of the child but are not recognized by the court as having any legal rights; and (3) Kith and kin childcare refers to a grandparent who provides care on a regular basis in the place of childcare or babysitter.
The majority of the children (73 %) living with their grandparents are over six years of age, sixty-three percent of the grandparents responsible for the care of grandchildren are female, and there is a 51 percent increase in the past 15 years in the number of grandchildren living with their grandparents with no parent present.
Three concerns related to grandparents raising grandchildren are poverty, health, and the utilization of community services. The data indicate that grandchildren living only with a grandmother are likely to be in poverty. Custodial grandparents often have health problems and have problems with daily living activities. Many grandparents are unaware of community resources or they feel uncomfortable in receiving public assistance.
This conference is sponsored by AARP Missouri, University of Missouri Extension, Area Agency on Aging, Pemiscot County Initiative Network Families Support Project, Caregiver Volunteers, OAKS Nutrition Center, Pemiscot County Health Department, and RSVP. Childcare is available for 2-5 years olds. Please indicate the number and ages of the children that you will be bringing.
The conference will begin with registration and a continental breakfast. This will be followed with a welcome and introductions. The Keynote Address will be presented by Diane Hall, MO AARP Associate State Director for Community Outreach who will discuss ?Changing Roles in a Changing World?; Ashley Singleton, Adolescent C-Star will discuss Street Drug Awareness; Grandparents Rights and Law Enforcement will be presented by Tommy Campbell, Chief Deputy Juvenile Officer Dunklin County. Following the break, Julie Orf of MPACT will discuss Bullying; Lew Polivick, Director of Legal Services of Southern Missouri will discuss Legal Issues for Grandparents and this session will include a question and answer session with Becky Ayers from the Division of Family Services. Lunch will be provided at no cost to participants by the Families Support Project-PIN and Devine Holiness Outreach. Following lunch, Maude Harris with University of Missouri Extension will present, ?Keep it Fun, Keep it Simple, Just keep It! Family Mealtime Dynamics.? The program will conclude with the evaluation and door prizes.
The conference sponsors hope that this conference will be helpful in providing information to relatives raising grandchildren and to provide support.
University of Missouri Extension programs are open to all