Archive for Friday, September 29, 2006

Grandparents raising grandchildren find moral support in growing trend

September 29, 2006

Advertisement

Kathryn and Verner Newman play with their 5-year-old granddaughter, Victoria Newman, Thursday in their backyard. The Newmans are raising Victoria and attend support groups for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

Kathryn and Verner Newman play with their 5-year-old granddaughter, Victoria Newman, Thursday in their backyard. The Newmans are raising Victoria and attend support groups for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

It's 8:15 a.m.

In the next 15 minutes, 5-year-old Victoria Newman will finish breakfast with her grandmother, practice a little skateboarding and shoot some hoops with her grandfather.

That's all before she hitches a ride to school with her aunt, Rebecca Murphy.

Tired yet? Try sticking with the kindergartner if you're 70 years old.

"She's definitely a high-energy child," said Kathryn Newman, Victoria's grandmother.

Though Victoria has frequent contact with her mother and father, Kathryn and her husband, Verner, have to keep up with her on a daily basis as her legal guardians, along with Murphy.

"It keeps you young, but it hurts," 76-year old Verner Newman said with a laugh. "It hurts trying to keep up. You get tired real quick."

It seems more and more grandparents in Lawrence share their joys and struggles in raising their grandchildren.

"I know that we have a lot more grandparents involved now than we have previously," said Susan Gile, a social service supervisor for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

The trend gained attention last week when Charles Glover Sr. died in a house fire in East Lawrence, along with four of his grandchildren who lived with him. Glover and his wife, Learlean, had custody of all of them.

Video

Victoria Newman at school. Enlarge video

As more seniors take a role in raising a much younger generation, more services have emerged to assist them. Kathryn Newman attends a monthly support group the first Sunday of the month at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2700 Lawrence Ave.

"If you have a bad month, there's always someone there who's been through what you're going through," she said.

Beyond moral support, second-time parents can also receive financial aid through a new state program that starts in January. "What it's going to do is provide a stipend for grandparents who have taken legal custody of their grandchildren," said SRS Special Projects Manager Michelle Ponce.

Called Grandparents as Caregivers, the program offers people older than 50 and living with at least one grandchild between $200 and $600 a month if they qualify. The grandparents must be the primary caregivers, with income less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family like the Newmans with two grandparents and one grandchild, that's less than $17,160 a year. They can access $200 a month for one grandchild, $400 for two and $600 for three or more.

"Grandparents are typically a little bit older, and there are some financial challenges," Gile said. "Sometimes they are no longer working, and they're living off of some retirement, so funds are limited. That can be a challenge."

Gile said when grandparents step in, they often keep the grandkids out of foster care where they would be wards of the state.

"Substance abuse among parents, mental illness among parents, physical disabilities and then general abuse and neglect issues with the parents are some of the reasons the grandparents step forward," Gile said.

Despite the challenges, the Newmans said parenting is more fun the second time around.

Comments

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright: I completely agree with costello. My mother did the best she could with me and my sisters, and my older sister still turned out worthless. She had her first kid when she was 16. And she's been pawning them off on the rest of my family ever since. The only thing my mother is guilty of is having children too young, but other than that she's done a wonderful job. Is it my mother's fault that my sister is a horrible parent? I think not.

firemedic301 8 years, 10 months ago

Offtotheright, guess what.... if they throw them in jail YOUR TAXES are going to be used to feed the WORTHLESS parents and for them to get medical care, while their children suffer. I was legally adopted by my grandparents and that was the best thing that happened to me. I admit I wouldn't have the quality of life I have now if it hadn't been for them, and I feel that the grandparents should get all the help they can get. They have busted their ass to already raise a set of kids, and if they need some of my tax dollars to help get them over the hump that their pensions don't cover than so be it. Speaking of tax dollars, how much is the city spending on the pieces of junk they call "art" on the street corners? All that those are worth is the money that they would get by taking them to the salvage yard.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

because by then you have learned and lived more you know the old saying learn from your mistakes, this also applies from first to last of your own kids, parents tend to be harder on the first but not the next or next because you learn to pick battle and learn what works and does not. You just know how to deal better.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

By the way my hat is off to these two grandparents they do more before 8:30am than most people half their age do all day keep it up.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright - A stipend to the grandparents caring for their grandchildren is only fair. Your tax dollars would pay for the child in foster care, this is only redirecting your money. This is better for the kid in the long run, and cheaper on Kansas' pocket book.
I only wish the law lowered the age for grandparents, because there are some grandparents younger than 50 who are caring for grandkids.

costello 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright: What makes you think they were bad parents the first time? Why do you assume that parents are always at fault when kids go off the rails? I know lots of perfectly nice parents whose kids are rotters. And I know families with several children where only one of the kids is trouble.

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

I've been caring for my grandson for the past 5 years (he's six now). His mother neglected him when he was younger and my son has been in and out of jail and works when he can keep a job, but can't provide a stable home for the child. I wouldn't want to trade taking care of my grandson for anything, we're best friends. He is the greatest joy and such a good kid and I'm proud to say he's very happy and well-adjusted because of my hard work. Financially we get by check to check. I'm over 50 and each year I have him gets more and more challenging. My grandson has a lot of contact with his Dad, but the most difficult part is trying to make my son understand that he is responsible for the financial care of this child even though the child is living with me. To top this off I've been dealing with the courts for the past 3 years trying to obtain full custody only to be given temporary custody. My son is a convincing talker when he needs to be (if the judge only knew him). The child's mother stopped coming to court and calls every couple of months but hasn't visited my grandson since last Christmas. He's used to is now. I didn't know there was a support group here in Lawrence and I could surely use one. I'll be there.

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

mommaeffort my heart goes out to you. God bless you and good luck.

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Good luck mommaeffort if he does come back for the child because you are in for a rude awakening. No matter what that father has all the rights whether he's been in that child's life or not - KANSAS LAW. This is what I've been battling. Go to the meeting at the church and I'll tell you more. Perhaps your daugther can leave a will or custody will of some sort to protect you from the father taking the child.

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Folks the support group will be this Sunday at the Redeemer Lutheran Church at 4:00 PM if you need any other addtional information the church number is 843-8181

armyguy 8 years, 10 months ago

Kansas pays between $630 to $1500 per month for each foster child (depending on age), more for special needs kids, plus costs like social workers, drivers, respite providers, insurance cards etc. This program is a tax payer bargain for lower income grandparents who are raising their grandkids

mommaeffortx2 is correct in that not all parents are trash, there are as many reasons as there are kids.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

well I will soon be raising a grandchild and it is not because of worthless trash parents, it is because her mother is going to die, not all parents are trash some just die have you ever thought about that..

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

of course I am not 70+ so this will help me alittle to keep up.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

hes gone and if he was still here I would fight till h*ll froze over to make sure he was not in the picture he would have been the trash refferd to in the posts above. I would have made sure he severed all parental rights he would have had. Same with other grandmother so I am ok with taking baby girl not anytype of problem. Love takes care of alot. Considering I have my little surprise baby and she is only six next oldest 18, I am probably better off at dealing than most grandparents... Yes I know would have been almost done if not for my little angel but would not change one second of it, keeps you young.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

thanks sunshine but no legal battle in my future, thank goodness, goodluck with yours sounds like you are going to make it, six is such a hard time for kids pushing that boundry wanting know what they can get away with and what they can't parenthood..:) would not change it for anything. Keep your chin up your son might come around one day or as I like to say grow up someday.

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

For five years my grandmother took care of my nephew. Now it looks like my mother is going to take him. His parents are worthless. He's better off with my mom and dad, his grandparents, than with his mother and father.

costello 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright: Most of the "worthless trash" that produced them have no money. The grandparents are not wealthy and/or are on fixed incomes. If they can't care for the children, they'll end up in foster care. Foster care is more expensive and far more damaging to the child than suitable kinship care. Ultimately it will cost all of us more to care for these children in foster care and beyond than the few hundred dollars a month to help the grandparent do so.

Believe me, it's far more cost effective in the long run to help lower income grandparents care for their grandchildren.

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, but most times, the worthless trash doesn't have any money. 9 times out of 10, they're not working, and on drugs. If that's the case, they're not going to have any money. These children need to be taken care of. At least someone loves them enough to make sure they're fed and clothed.

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

Adoption? Puh-lease. My sister is sneaky, underhanded, devious, and conniving. Not to mention a liar and a thief. My mother was a single mother with two full time jobs. Do you honestly think she could run home and check on my sister every five minutes to make sure she wasn't doing anything she wasn't supposed to? My sister LIED TO MY MOTHER'S FACE when she asked if there were people at our house when she wasn't home. And then when we found out she was pregnant, she swore to my mother that she wanted the baby. We all believed her. My mother wasn't going to force her to give up the baby. And I can't stand parents that do force their kids to do that. That's about the most cold-hearted thing I could ever think of.

costello 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright: Do you have any children? Do you know how hard it is to keep a teenager supervised? Also, are you aware that a parent can't give up their child's child for adoption?

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

Offtotheright, I seriously think you need a reality check.

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

Well, Offtotheright, you're in luck. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SUPPORT MY NEPHEW! He is not unwanted. I want him, his grandmother wants him, and his great grandmother wants him. He doesn't need your money. Parents can not make their children give up their child for adoption. My sister is still his mother and legal guardian, and has been since the day he was born. My mother had no say in it. But you know what, he IS LOVED AND WANTED, so no there was no need to put him up for adoption. And to answer your question, no, we wouldn't have been better off without him. Without him, I think our lives would have been a lot worse off. He's the best kid I know, and I finally understand the meaning of the words unconditional love because of him. The only thing that ticks me off about the situation my family's in is that my sister can't be responsible like she swore she would be. You, sir, are the one that doesn't make sense.

jcantspell 8 years, 10 months ago

a small burden can growe in to a big burden so we as a sacity shuold spend what ever it takes to help these un wanted chidrin to make sure they git on the right track

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright- A parent can raise a child right, teach them right from wrong, but can not be responsible for all the outside influences on the child, as hard as they try. Teenagers can be sneaky and downright underhanded when they want to be. I was a good kid, but even I stayed out after curfew every once in a while, and went to a movie I was forbidden to see.
It's obvious you are not a parent, as you are being very harsh on these grandparents who are doing a good thing here.

costello 8 years, 10 months ago

Hi cantspell: I love the name! And it fits too. I agree with your message, though.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Some grandparents, ShockerWildcat, are raising their grandkids due to death or illness of a parent. There is no one to chase for financial support. (and sometimes there is an absentee parent, who is better off to stay absent). These grandparents are caring for their grandkids, and not getting rich doing it. We are talking $200 per kid per month, which is a drop in the bucket when compared to foster care. Your tax dollars are being reallocated. And those kids, our future, is better off.

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree with you mom_of_three. These children are better off with family, than lost in a system that's notorious for letting them down.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright you either do not have or if you do they are newborn and you have no idea.

Becca 8 years, 10 months ago

It's quite obvious he doesn't have children, given the way he thinks the grandparents are at fault for the children not raising their kids. This is not a black and white issue. There's no one way that's right for everybody. It's pretty sad and pathetic that his only solution for a 16 year old having a child is give the baby up for adoption. I really sincerely hope that if this is way he handles an issue like this, that he never has children.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Macon- Just because the grandparents are raising the kids does not make them bad parents during the first round. There are lots of influences in the world during their teen years, and then there is college. Gee, I feel deju vu. Oh, because I already made a post similiar to this.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

I wasn't married when I gave birth to my daughter, but I was 23 and did marry her father, to whom I am still married to.
But does that mean my mother was a bad parent - Nope. Was I a bad person - Nope.
My cousin gave birth at 17 and is now married for the 3rd time - to the RIGHT man. Does this mean her mother did a bad job - NOPE. Is my cousin a bad person - Nope. She did a great job raising her son, who is almost 17. She now has 3 kids, and is a grea tmom.

Laura Watkins 8 years, 10 months ago

Wait...so you'd rather your taxes go to keeping the parents in jail, rather than helping the grandparents take care of the kids? I mean...if you put the parents in jail, someone will still need to take care of the kids...so why not just help them out in the first place?

jcantspell 8 years, 10 months ago

Offtotheright what's up with all the name calling? You need to stop generalizing you don't know evry ones story Do you have children? Did you teach them how to be name callers to? Taxes taxes taxes you can pay now or you can really pay latter when some of these Poor kids go to prison if you're so worried about money give up some time! You could be a big brother or big sister or a mentor A scout leader something! maybe you already do these things I don't know Or maybe you just like to throw words whats up?

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

If I was a kid and had a choice I would much rather go live grandma than go into the system, get lost or abused or forgotten or killed yeah my money is with grandparents.

shockchalk 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree that offtotheright probably doesn't have any children but he definitely thinks he is an authority on the subject. Plenty of judgement and name calling but no ideas for a solution. Perhaps if we were all perfect like him, our children would turn out perfect as well.

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Macon67 you are so cynical about EVERYTHING is there anything you agree with?

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

I will have to look into getting some funding to help me -how do I sign up for this and who do I contact?

davisnin 8 years, 10 months ago

This seems fair enough, but I'm pretty sure there will be abuse. Girls living with their parents who are getting these checks. Still it sounds better than the hoops and expense of trying to keep the kid with deadbeat parents I've heard from my social worker friends.

It does seem like it would be better to bring back the sense of shame for a teen pregnancy. Pregnancy outside of marriage, for that matter, as I know a lot of girls in their twenties in temporary relationships that didn't use birth control and got knocked up by a guy they knew to be sketchy.
A lot of these young girls seem proud to be knocked up at fifteen or sixteen. I think most of it is due to parents not giving the discipline and direction and attention and trying to be friends with their kids. The family unit is so degraded. Nothing the kid does is 'wrong' and they are told everything they do is a success since they 'tried' or they just ignore them claiming they can make their own choices. Kids want to be held in check, whether they realize it or not. Just watch the kids on "Super Sweet Sixteen" on MTV.

Danielle Brunin 8 years, 10 months ago

Offtotheright:

My grandmother has had custody of two of my cousins since they were very young with the help of my mom and uncles. My uncle died of a massive heart attack when he was 39 years old. He was a wonderful father. Unfortunately, their mother is mentally deficient, and met some guy on the internet and moved in with him after a week, blew all of the life insurance money, and now lives in a homeless shelter in Alabama ( we think.) My grandmother lives off of my grandfather's retirement. She could definitely use the help.

I genuinely hope you never have to live through a situation like this because it is hell. Perhaps you should show a little compassion because life has a funny way of changing your perspective when you least expect it. You never know when your life is going to fall down around you. I guarantee that my grandmother never expected to spend her golden years raising my cousins. Be thankful that you're in a position where you can pass judgement on the situation, and not in that situation. I don't mean that in a mean way, but s*** happens and you never know where you'll end up down the road.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

sweet sixteen girls on mtv need their a** beat and so do their parents.

boomersooner4ever 8 years, 10 months ago

hmmm, wonder what kind of worthless trash produced an opinionated, one-sided, heartless, know-it-all like that one poster on here, will not name names :)

crys6301999 8 years, 9 months ago

I would like to point out one thing. Not all parents who get their kids taken away are worthless or anything else that you guys said. I had all three of my children taken away because of an court case that was 2 years old where the discription of the child matched 2 children on the block so they couldn't be certain, an accident, an ability to trust someone that I had known for 10 years and had carried on a conversation with me for 10 min. prior to me leaving and they ran of from her, and a blatan lie by srs. I asked for help and 4 days later they came and took my kids. So my parents are raising my kids and until 2 weeks ago I had a full time job, went to college to better myself for my children, was an assistant girl scout leader for my daughter's troop. Went on every field trip, every class party, and every parent teacher conforence. So No all parents are worthless some just get railroaded by the system. I gladly pay for everything my children need and want. And always have and will continue to do so. So I do believe that you guys need to make sure you have all the facts. Granted my case is a little different but my children are still being raised by my parents.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.