GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 32

well-being and family stability. In the Maryland study, 90 percent of the grandparents stated that they would do it again regardless of the difficulties associated with child rearing and the financial complications involved. For Janelle Williams, becoming a foster parent to her grandchildren has more pros than cons. The licensing requirements take time, but she agrees with the reasons that licensing is a necessity, and not just for non-relative prospective foster parents, but for kinship foster grandparents as well. As she points The State is involved in major decisions regarding the children out, even biological grandparents need training and information that lead to additional resources for their grandchildren. State laws and resources have not kept pace with the research or the realities of contemporary families. Legal restrictions often stand in the way of well-meaning grandparents who run into obstacles when needing to make decisions for their live-in grandchildren, decisions that include obtaining necessary medical treatment, enrollment in school or getting critical financial assistance. Previously, for example, Williams was able to apply for only the most basic of state-offered services. Now, as a licensed foster parent to the children, Williams not only has gained more financially, she also has access to better health care and increased assistance with regard to food stamps and clothing allowances. “It is worth it,” she says. “Before I became a foster parent to my grandkids, when I was their legal guardian, I qualified for only $400 per month from social services. Now I receive $400 per month per child. It’s a big difference, and it makes a big difference in their lives.” But, Williams says, while there are many positives in her new role as foster grandparent, there are negatives as well. She states that a major drawback to the “system” is regular visits from caseworkers, sometimes announced, sometimes unannounced. “Sometimes, someone has been sick and I’m worn out and the place is a mess. I worry what they’ll think or say or do,” she laments. And the turnover rate for caseworkers is a nationwide problem. “You just get used to one and they leave or get reassigned, and you have to get the next one up to speed on your case.” This is not only frustrating for Williams herself, but it is confusing for her grandchildren when different people pop in, have to start over and get to know the kids all over again—causing a major trust issue. Counselors, thankfully, have less of a turnover than their caseworker counterparts, so there is some consistency for the kids and for the foster grandparent. (Williams’ grandchildren receive weekly counseling through the foster care system.) Even though the kids become wards of the State, and the State is often involved in major decision making such as health care and other personal decisions, Williams says that the positives of fostering her grandchildren far outweigh the negatives: “To know I am making a difference in those kids’ lives and to know they depend on me and trust that I will be there for them, it’s all worth it.” G *The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the children For more information on grandparents raising grandchildren, visit this U.S. government site , where you will find other helpful links, including the National Center on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren with links to “Grandparent Programs by State”. 32 GRAND MAY 2009
http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Grandparents.shtml http://chhs.gsu.edu/nationalcenter/909.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - May 2009

GRAND Magazine - May 2009
GRAND View
Contents
GRAND Central
Watching Lily Bloom
GrandZ in the 'Hood'
Numbers Game
We're Taking In the G'Kids
Face-to-Facebook
SHMILY
Family Crews
Soul Food
Resources
GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Intro
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - GRAND Magazine - May 2009
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 3
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - GRAND View
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 5
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 7
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 8
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 9
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 10
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 11
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 12
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - GRAND Central
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 14
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 15
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 16
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 17
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 18
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 19
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Watching Lily Bloom
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 21
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 22
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - GrandZ in the 'Hood'
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 24
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 25
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Numbers Game
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 27
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 28
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 29
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - We're Taking In the G'Kids
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 31
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 32
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 33
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Face-to-Facebook
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 35
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - SHMILY
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 37
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Family Crews
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 39
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Soul Food
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 41
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 42
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 44
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 45
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - 47
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - May 2009 - Cover4
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