TOPEKA - Approximately 3 percent of all children in Kansas under 18 are living in households where a grandparent provides that child’s primary care. In honor of grandparents who take on this tremendous responsibility, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) is celebrating them on Grandparents Day, Sept. 10.
A Topeka woman stepped forward to serve as a relative placement when her grandchildren were recently removed from their home. The grandmother says she wanted to keep the siblings together and out of a non-relative foster home. (To protect the privacy of the children, the family is not being identified.)
The Topeka woman attended a proclamation signing ceremony in August, where Governor Sam Brownback designated Sept. 10 as National Grandparents Day.
Approximately 33 percent of children currently in foster care in Kansas are being cared for by relatives, in many instances grandparents. When a child must be removed from his/her home for safety reasons, DCF and its foster care contractors make it a priority to identify relatives or known adults to the children as placement options. Children placed with grandparents or other relatives experience fewer placement moves, are more likely to be placed with siblings, and have fewer behavior problems.
“Whenever a child must be taken from their home, grandparents often provide a safe and loving alternative to reduce the trauma of being removed from their home,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “As a grandparent myself, I treasure the time I can spend with my grandchildren. I am tremendously grateful to grandparents across the State of Kansas who have volunteered to provide full-time comfort and care for their grandchildren.”
The Kansas Department for Aging and Disabilities (KDADS) provides support to grandparents serving as parents through its Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP). The program was created by several agencies concerned with the welfare of older adults, children and youth.
RAPP offers support groups and referrals to community resources such as legal services, financial assistance, medical assistance, day care, emergency food, housing assistance and recreational activities for children.