Healthy Grandfamilies aims to train Grandparents raising Grandchildren

The program is open to all grandfamilies, even if the grandparents do not have legal guardianship.
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MARION COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) -- Grandparents raising their grandchildren is a growing trend in West Virginia.

"We are the second in the nation when it comes to Grandfamilies," said Candance Golaszewski, a social worker with Healthy Grandfamilies.

According to Department of Health and Human Services reports, substance abuse by parents is one of the leading reasons children are removed from homes.

According to research by West Virginia State University, one in every 14 children are products of grandfamilies.

"I'm coming across different situations for every Grandfamily that I come up with. But you have situations such as the opioids that we are seeing parents not being able to be primary care givers for their kids, and we are seeing families stepping in," said Golaszewski.

Family Services of Marion and Harrison counties teamed with United Way and the Marion Board of Education staff to bring the healthy grandfamilies program to the county.

"The model was developed by West Virginia State University and it is ten topics that we cover throughout workshops," said Golaszewski.

These workshops include legal aid, trauma response and social media.

"Things that grandparents may not necessarily be educated in," said Golaszewski.

Participants gather once a week during the eight week program to eat, meet other grandfamilies, and participate in group discussions with experts. Marion County added an element to this program.

"We're adding a support group for the grandfamilies because we don't want to just leave after that three month period. We want to continue on with services and helping them," said Golaszewski.