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GrandFamilies Guide

Raising Grandchildren: Health

What you should know to ensure your grandkids' physical and mental well-being

What if I can't afford nutritious, well-balanced meals for my grandchildren?

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program helps women, infants and children up to age 5 who have low incomes and may not be able to eat well. The program has food, health care referrals, and nutrition education for pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women. Contact your state or local WIC agency to apply for help. WIC may also help if you have a daughter or granddaughter who is pregnant.

The federal government has many programs to help with the nutrition needs of children and families with lower incomes, including the food stamp program, school meal program, summer food service program, child and adult care food program, and food distribution programs. Talk with your grandchildren's school about the school meal programs, and ask your local social service agency about the other nutrition programs. You can also visit www.fns.usda.gov/fns to find out more about these programs.

How can I help my grandchildren with behavioral and mental health issues?

Many children being raised by relatives have been through a lot of stress. Your grandchildren may have been abused or neglected. If their parents have mental health issues, they may be more likely to have the same or similar problems as well.

Ask your grandchildren's social worker or school counselor if they can offer therapy or counseling for them. Also talk to your pediatrician about any mental health issues as well, and see if there are any psychological tests your grandchildren should get. Medication is sometimes prescribed for certain mental health disorders. Be sure to find out if your grandchildren qualify for any public benefits to help with medical or mental health care or support for disabilities. The finance section of GrandFamlies Resources has more information on finding public benefits.

Next: Education and Child Care. »

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