The number of children being raised by non-parent relatives has increased by 55% since 2010 in Massachusetts[i], and the majority of these kinship caregivers are grandparents. There are now more than 10,400 grandparents raising grandchildren in Massachusetts[ii]. The opioid crisis has been a major factor in this rise, as many who suffer from addiction or die from opioid related causes are parents of young children. Grandparents often step in to care for these children.
Many issues have emerged as significant concerns for grandparents (or other kinship caregivers):
- Lack of legal services and representation
- Lack of services for families not involved in DCF
- Scarcity of affordable and accessible childcare
- Inconsistent information and practices within DCF
- Availability of local support
- Impact of trauma and other mental health issues
We offer a Grandparents/Kinship Caregivers Support Group at our Community Center (9 Russell Rd, Huntington) on the 4th Wednesday of each month from 10:15 to 11:45 am. Free Childcare in the family center. This program is a collaboration of the Hilltown Community Health Centers and the United ARC, with funding generously supplied through Highland Valley Elder Services, the MA Department of Early Education and Care and the United Way of Hampshire County.
For more information, call Kim Savery at 667-2203 x310 or Susan LeBarron at 667-2203 x311.
[i] KIDSCOUNT Data Center, Massachusetts Indicators, Children In Kinship Care,
[ii] American Community Survey 5 Year Census .gov 2011-2015