TOPEKA – On National Grandparents Day, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) are recognizing the tremendous service many Kansas grandparents provide by caring for their grandchildren. Approximately 30 percent of children currently in foster care are being cared for by relatives. In most instances, the relative is a grandparent. When parental rights are terminated or surrendered, grandparents may also become parents to their grandchildren. Kansas has has 35,274 children living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives.
“It is always our goal to keep children in their homes when it is safe to do so,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “When that is not possible, grandparents often provide a safe and loving alternative to reduce the trauma of children being removed from their home.”
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.
“This program is designed to let grandparents and relatives know they are not alone,” KDADS Secretary Kari Bruffett said. “An increasing number of parents are unable to care for their children, and grandparents frequently take on that responsibility.”
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.
For more information about RAPP, contact Sharon Dabzadeh at KDADS, by calling 785-296-4986 or 800-432-3535.