Ouida and Cecil Scales of Farmington thought they would be taking on the care of their three small great grandchildren for just a short time – time to give their granddaughter a chance to get back on her feet financially. Now it appears it may be a much longer arrangement.
The Scales were two of 60 grandparents that attended a special community forum for grandparents, and others, who are raising grandchildren, sponsored by AARP and Outcomes Inc., held April 25 in Albuquerque at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
Grandparents raising grandchildren is a much more common event then people realize. In New Mexico, 54 percent of grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren and that statistic doesn’t even address other relatives or friends of the family who take on the responsibility of raising children that are not their own
Ouida said she and her husband are one of lucky ones because they are not raising the children completely on their own, the whole family is involved.
“Their uncle and aunt really provide us with support,” Cecil said.
Still keeping up with little ones ages 6, 5 and 3 is not for the faint of heart. One of the challenges in raising children is both their age and the grandparents’ age.
“The kids keep you young but you don’t have the energy you used to,” she said.
Still Ouida is glad that the family was able to step in and says one of the greatest benefits is seeing the children began to relax.
“We have seen that the kids are starting to come out of their shell, they aren’t afraid of the dark any more, and they are so much happier now that they have structure. They need that,” she said.
At the forum, the Scales had the opportunity to visit with experts from a variety of service providers who could answer questions grandparents had in the areas of legal issues, finances, obtaining public benefits, health care and family issues.
One grandparent stated as she left the forum she now had hope and didn’t feel quite so alone.
For more information on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and a listing of local resources on our Online Community Journal.
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