Library invites all caregivers to Friday event

Published 9:04 am Monday, October 12, 2015

Being the sole caregivers for their nine-year-old granddaughter wasn’t how “Jim” and “Betty” had envisioned their golden years.
Having raised their four children, the two looked forward to traveling and gardening after their retirement. Instead, a daughter’s health issue resulted in the couple taking their granddaughter into their home and, for all practical purposes, becoming her parents.
Though the couple asked that their real names not be used, both of them say they now “can’t imagine life” without their granddaughter. But they also admit that at their age — Betty is 62; Jim is 73 — taking care of an active little girl can be a challenge.
More and more relatives are in similar situations. According to the 2010 U. S. Census, 4.9 million American children are being raised by their grandparents. That is almost twice the number from the 200 Census — 2.4 million.
Here in Tennessee, according to the 2010 Census, 177,701 — nearly 12 percent — of all children under the age of 18 live in homes headed by grandparents or other relatives. Of these, 72,094 of these youngsters live in households where the grandparents are responsible for them
Grandparents and other caregivers need help says Ashlee Williams, Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library Children’s Librarian. Williams is the coordinator of the Grandparent/Relative Caregiver Fair set for Friday, Oct. 16, from 9-11 a.m. at the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library.
The Fair is a free event, open to the public. It will bring 40 agencies together under one roof to provide information on support available for kinship caregivers, foster parents, adoptive parents and their supporters.
Information that will be available includes legal options, financial services and support, education support for children, caregiver services and support, health related services. There will also be free activities and events for children at the Fair.
For more information, please contact Williams at 423-547-6360.

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