The number of children living in Grandparent headed households is rising. New Census data is expected to show that this is becoming of epic proportions. The problem affects all races, ages and incomes due to many issues: divorce, neglect, death, incarceration, unemployment, abuse and substance abuse, abandonment or military service.
One way to assist Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in South Carolina is the creation of GrandFamily Resource Centers located in public libraries. This offers one location—the public library--where Grandparents can go to receive information that will assist them with the variety of issues. While it can benefit families raising other family members, it focuses on the grandparent-grandchildren connection due to the generation gap that can make the parenting particularly difficult for a grandparent. It is important that this be more than simply a collection of books or other items but that as a resource center, it also includes a kind of personal support and programs that a library can offer as well as information.
The library is already a trusted place for finding information, assistance and programming. Many libraries have resources on a variety of topics including parenting, healthy cooking, home repair, legal assistance, financial assistance, programs for older adults (computer classes, health checks, legal clinics) as well as resources for school aged children such as books and tutoring programs. It is not just a collection, it is a center. It provides personal assistance to guide grandparents towards resources and also hosts support groups. The goal is to provide one place that can provide information to assist the grandparent who is “parenting again.”
GrandFamily Resource Centers will include a Resource Collection, Grandparents Chair, signage and marketing materials, volunteer training, support groups and staff support. The State Library will assist with the setting up of the collections and training for libraries who want to open a GrandFamily Resource Center.
The Resource Center model is easily replicated at any library location and includes the following components:
Additionally, there is a GRC Binder to be kept at the Reference Desk which includes helpful information for library staff about the collection, FAQ’s and other ready reference information.