Is There Help for Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren in Massachusetts?
More often, grandparents are finding themselves in a position of taking on responsibility for their grandchildren. There are many different situations that leave parents unable to provide care such as a lengthy military deployment, mental health concerns, drug or alcohol abuse, among other unfortunate circumstances. There really are a variety of things that can lead a grandparent, or other kinship caregiver, to take custody of a child. Regardless of the reason, it is important to know that there is help to navigate this new and often unexpected path.
- Legal Resources:In some situations, it is necessary for grandparents to seek legal consult. There are several resources available, both online and in-person. Masslegalhelp.org can be a great place to start to find information on issues such as custody, child support, and visitation as well as official legal forms and applications. If you’re seeking in-person help, one option is a local Court Service Center. Centers provide help to those with or without an attorney, to navigate the court system. Here you can find help with filling out appropriate forms, information about court rules, procedures and practices, and information on other community resources like legal assistance programs and social services agencies.
- The Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: The Commission is a wonderful resource for grandparents in Massachusetts. They are dedicated to serving the community as a hub for education, advocacy, and support though regional workshops, conferences and info sessions, strengthened relationships with community organizations, and up-to-date legal information. They also have connections to several grandparent support groups across the state. They have a wide selection of information and resources available on their website at www.massgrg.com
- Campership Scholarship: The Family Caregiver Support Program at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley offers a yearly scholarship program that can be offered to eligible grandparents or older adult family members who have legal custody of a minor relative and need assistance in paying for summer camp programs or other extracurricular activities. Camperships help to provide grandparents with needed respite and allow grandchildren a fun summer experience without added financial burden.
For more information on these and other services for grandparent and kinship caregivers and the children they support, please contact The Family Caregiver Support Program at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley at 978-683-7747.