By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
A new “grandfamilies” program is being offered at the Greenbrier County Family Support Center in Rupert. Located on the campus of the Marvel Center, the program is a partnership to support grandparents raising their grandkids.
“It’s growing,” explains Lesley Toliver, Director of the Family Support Center. “We started with two grandparents at our first meeting, and now we’re up to eight.”
The meetings are simple. Lesley and her colleagues listen to the needs of grandparents and help connect them to available resources.
“We’ve had some that didn’t know they were eligible for kinship financial support from the state,” Lesley says. “Most of the families are affected by substance use disorder. We try and get them whatever help they need.”
According to the National Center for the Analysis of Healthcare Data, approximately 43,000 children in West Virginia live with their grandparents. In some counties, more than half of all children are being raised by their grandparents. Experts point to the substance use crisis as the major factor in the prevalence of grandfamilies in West Virginia.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 26 from 11am-1pm. Food is provided by The Marvel Center. The meetings are held at 138 Cranberry Avenue in Rupert (the back side of The Marvel Center). If you have questions, call Lesley at 304-920-0601.
Partners in the grandfamilies program include the West Virginia University Extension Office, Greenbrier County Schools, Children’s Home Society, the Marvel Center, the Greenbrier County Family Support Center, and local grandparents seeking support for their daily lives.
For more information, visit the Greenbrier County Family Support Center on Facebook.