Archive for Monday, July 31, 2006

Topeka grandma too young to qualify for state aid

Program designed to assist primary caregivers

July 31, 2006


— Some people who are rearing their grandchildren will not be eligible for a new state program designed to help them because the Legislature said they must be at least 50 years old to qualify.

Cathy Moyle of Topeka, who is 47, said the age limit for the Grandparents as Caregivers assistance program had hampered her ability to care for three granddaughters.

Under the program, which begins Jan. 1, grandparent caregivers would receive $200 per grandchild each month for up to three children. But one of the qualifications is that the grandparents have to be 50 years old.

Moyle has had sporadic custody of Emetria, 13, Stephanie, 11, and Kelanna, 8, since they were born. She receives $359 a month through a federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant. She also receives $87 in food stamps, medical insurance for the girls and child care reimbursement.

But she was laid off in January from a job that paid twice as much as her current job, which also requires her to commute to south Topeka. The car recently broke down, so she is leasing one for now.

"I've never asked for anything I didn't really need," Moyle said. "You try to make do with what you have, but there are times when you just try as hard as you can, and something happens and you really need the help."

When she heard about the program, Moyle met all the stipulations except the age requirement. She has to have legal custody of the girls and they must live in her house. Their mother, Crystal Perry, can't live in the same house as long as they are receiving assistance. Moyle's income also is below 130 percent of the poverty line for a family of its size.

First census of grandparents

Census 2000 was the first to ask grandparents if, for whatever reason, they are responsible for most of the basic needs of a grandchild or grandchildren under the age of 18 living with them on a temporary or permanent basis. Of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren, nearly 40 percent reported being responsible for their grandchildren for more than five years. In Kansas, 17,873 grandparents are listed in the 2000 U.S. Census as being primary caregivers. About 75 percent of those grandparents are younger than 60 and nearly 4,600 grandparent caregivers live below the poverty level.

She said she began filling out the paperwork but hit a roadblock when she discovered she was too young.

"It feels like I'm getting punished for having a child when I was 19 and for Crystal having babies when she was young," she said. "Even worse, I feel like the girls are getting punished."

The Grandparents as Caregivers program was designed to serve about 1,200 families, said Mike Deines, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, which administers the funds.

He said the age limit was set in part after a study done at the University of Illinois showed that 50 was the median age of grandparents nationwide. Deines said some legislators wanted to make the age limit 60.

"With the amount of money available to us for the program, there was a limit to the amount of people who could get benefits," Deines said. "Honestly, there were a lot of people working to get this program going. It's really going to help a lot of people."

Moyle won't be eligible to benefit from the Grandparents as Caregivers program until she turns 50 in 2008.

"I can't say the state has shunned me completely," Moyle said. "They finally started paying for child care, and I do get a little bit of money assistance, but even if it were just $250 extra a month, we could make ends meet."

The girls' mother is serving a 2 1/2-year sentence in the Topeka Women's Correctional Facility for writing fraudulent checks. She began writing the checks after her husband died from a sudden brain aneurysm in 2003, Moyle said.

"She was just too proud. I think she really wanted to take care of those kids and prove she was still their mother," Moyle said. "But they knew that; they've always known that."

Representatives from SRS said they couldn't bend any rules to enroll Moyle in the program but said they would work to provide extra temporary relief.


allmine 11 years, 10 months ago

duh the law is wrong duh age does not matter.

allmine 11 years, 11 months ago

bowhunter she has a job read the whole thing.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

Isn't this basically age discrimination? Isn't that against federal law?

NorthLawrenceDude 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree! The taxpayers are getting screwed by the system and GRANDMA. 3 generations living off of the system? GET REAL PEOPLE!

as_I_live_and_breathe 11 years, 10 months ago

you know what is sad. the mother was only writing those bad checks to make a better life for her family. (sound familiar?) I thought breaking the law was ok if that was the reason.

Babysitters are not cheap, so maybe the 13 year old could pick up a few bucks watching the neighbors kids.

allmine 11 years, 10 months ago

well if she is working two jobs who is watching the kids?? what waste money on a babysitter not cheap let me tell you the law or what ever you want to call it is wrong if it could affect one it could affect 1000s. It is not lawful, age discrmination.

Confrontation 11 years, 11 months ago

Apparently, during times of desperation, it's okay to write bad checks. My mom had times of extreme desperation, and she never did anything illegal. I guess it has to do with how you were raised.

allmine 11 years, 11 months ago

so a grandma only needs love and an abusive foster parent needs money nope no one getting scr**ed on that one not at all. people should be proud this woman stepped up and did not let these kids fall into a system that could care less about them.

Confrontation 11 years, 11 months ago

I hope this grandma gets the help she deserves, since her daughter isn't mature enough to handle her own business. The poor kids are suffering due to stupidity.

conservative 11 years, 11 months ago

The problem is there isn't enough funds available to help everyone. I understand this and the fact that they had to draw the line somewhere so that they wouldn't have more people eligible than what they could help. The problem as i see it is that they chose the wrong statistic to use to limit participation. Wouldn't it have made so much MORE sense to set the limits based upon income levels? That way you make sure you are helping the ones who need it the most.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

the point is this woman is getting scr*wed over because of her age. This is just wrong, think how much it would cost everyone if these kids were in foster care and then the caregiver would get a monthly check regardless of age. Just wrong what is being done.

Janis Pool 11 years, 11 months ago

There nver should have been an age limit put on such a thing. Grandmothers don't choose how old they are when they become grandmothers. Why should the state?

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree enforcer lets down the people who need it then claims they are there for the people it is a joke. I am a grandma have been for 6 yrs and I am not even 45 yet and have 7 grandkids, twins in that number and 4 kids to spread it out. this is a bad thing why can't they see it will put alot of kids in the system that already fails so many kids.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

Unbelievable. Three generations of one family, all supported by taxpayers, yet we are still not doing enough for them.


"Posted by enforcer (anonymous) on July 31, 2006 at 5:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

the kids are eligable for Socual Security survivor benefits too"

You are making the assumption that the husband that died was the father of the children.

mom_of_three 11 years, 11 months ago

50 is a nice average for grandparents, but unfortunately, it isn't very helpful for those who need help. Many people become grandparents in their 40's. My mother was 44 when she became a grandmother for the first time. I have known several people who became grandparents in their 30's.
This grandmother is choosing to raise her grandchildren instead of letting them go into the system. She just needs a little help due to the circumstances and I hope she receives it.

Confrontation 11 years, 11 months ago

"She was just too proud. I think she really wanted to take care of those kids and prove she was still their mother," Moyle said. "But they knew that; they've always known that."

She was so proud that she had to write fraudulent checks? So, I guess we're all better off not being proud, single parents.

badger 11 years, 10 months ago

Point is, if a program is supposed to exist to help folks, and a fairly arbitrary rule is keeping it from helping someone who meets all the other criteria, then isn't there something wrong with the setup of the program?

You can debate all day long about whether or not it should even exist, but it does exist, and some of the people it should be helping (so as to justify its existence) is not being helped.

Oh, and, the bus system in Topeka may be pretty good, but it doesn't go everywhere. It may well be that some of the places she needs to go would require an hour and a half on the bus. Even in Lawrence, there were places I could walk faster than I could go on the bus, and Topeka isn't that different. I don't know that I'd be trashing someone for not taking the bus. For all you know, it could be a matter of walking four blocks each way to the nearest bus stop and then riding over an hour and walking another two blocks to get to your job. That is going to work out to almost a two-hour commute each way, looking at fifteen or twenty hours a week more than if you had a car. How, exactly, does one get a part-time job if one is working forty hours a week, commuting twenty hours a week, and still trying to be present for three children who need parenting? Hell, how does one devote the necessary attention to raising three kids if you're out of the home sixty hours a week?

When it's all said and done, we have no idea whether she lives fifteen feet away from a twenty-minute bus ride to her workplace door or if getting from her house to her job in South Topeka would be a two-hour ordeal and a mile of walking. We don't know if she has physical limitations that prevent her from walking as far as her bus stop. We just don't know any of that, but the Judgment Crew just has to chime in and complain about how this woman's choice to lease a car is lazy and irresponsible.

Some folks ought to try, sometime, thinking that maybe, just maybe, someone really is doing the best she can and really might need a little help. We pay foster parents regardless of age. Why not family members who take in kids to keep them in a familiar environment and out of the foster care system, regardless of age?

allmine 11 years, 11 months ago

Nope bad checks are never good but to say we will not help you even if you are being a good grand parent and taking care of these kids because you are to young?? What the heck is up with that, just wrong wrong wrong. Age of the grandparent is irrelevent and it is better to have a young grand parent to take care of these kids, than one that is already 70 and might not be around much longer shame on the leg.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 10 months ago

Why is it that the state thinks it takes $1200 a month (last figure I knew of), per child, to properly care for a child if they're in foster care, but if they're with their parents or a grandparent, they'll only give $300 (or less) a month to help someone care for a child?

This is why there are some people who get into being foster parents because of the money. I've had the misfortune of knowing a couple of them.

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