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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Episode 49 (Epilogue): Celebrating Grandparents

Tonight on Maternally Yours we celebrated grandparents. National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year. Ryan and Carmela shared stories of their own grandparents before exploring the issue of grandparents raising grandchildren.  

Joined by LaSandra McGrew, LCSW of The Florida Kinship Center, we discussed FKC's mission and service offerings. Ms. McGrew, who has been working with FKC for 12 years, shared statistics regarding the number of kinship families in Florida - 345,000 children in Florida are being cared for by their grandparents though these numbers may be much higher. While in the past many grandchildren came to be cared for by their grandparent due to drug abuse or incarceration, more recently, economic conditions are driving more and more families to turn to grandparents for the full time care of their children. Ms. McGrew later reviewed some of the common challenges a kinship family may face - financial, emotional and housing issues being the top three. The most devastating piece of information shared by Ms. McGrew is that funding for programs for kinship families is being cut. "It's very difficult to explain [budget cuts] to the caregivers", said Ms. McGrew, "They are just beside themselves".

We then welcomed Sheri Clarry, a local mother and grandmother who is raising her 6 month old grandson. Sheri shared the joys and challenges that come with raising a grandchild. She was very clear in her conviction that kinship families should seek support and encouragement in their endeavors. She was also adamant that all families must be politically active and seek changes needed to support "the things that are keeping our nation going with these children we're raising". "Get out there and vote", Sheri said. 

Sheri, we couldn't agree more.


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