Did you know almost 99,000 children in Maryland live in grandparent-headed households? Within that number, more than 54,000 live without either parent present in the house. According to the AARP Foundation, these parents are in jail or are struggling with drug abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, or handling other life challenges while unable to care for their children. Sixty percent of these grandparents are under age 60 and 14 percent live in poverty.
To help grandparents manage, local support groups have been established in Maryland. Some are listed here for several counties:
Progressive Life Center Kinship Care Program – counseling and supportive services in Prince George’s County and surrounding areas. Offers visits with a caseworker, spiritually and culturally focused case management, parent support groups, family team meetings, youth groups, respite care and more. Call 301-773-1701 or log onto www.ntuplc.org.
Grandparents as Parents of Howard County – meets monthly to discuss issues affecting families such as behavior and discipline problems, communication with parents, and legal options (provides children’s activities while grandparents meet). Call 410-313-1940. www.howardcountymd.gov/children.
Baltimore Grandfamilies of Communities – provides services and support in the Baltimore area, including support groups, database of local services, phone referrals, newsletters and more. Call 410-381-4788 or log onto www.baltimoregrandfamilies.org.
Baltimore County Department of Aging – in partnership with local organizations, offers summer camp opportunities for grandparents and other relatives raising children in the Baltimore County area. Call 410-887-2970 or log onto www.takingcareofmomanddad.net.
Solutions for Children and Caregivers of Maryland – services include support groups, legal referrals and state advocacy for new laws that help grandfamilies across Maryland. Their 24/7 hotline is 301-898-8023 or log onto www.solutionsforchildrenandcaregivers.com.
GRACE (Frederick Co. Dept. of Aging) – support group, provides database of local services, information and phone referrals, and other support services. Call 301-694-1605 or log onto www.co.frederick.md.us/doa.