Kinship Grandparents Motivated by Love
September 2023 · Forward in Hope
Hopefully, you were able to spend some time with the elder members of your family last Sunday. In case you missed it, September 10 was Grandparents Day.
Saint Francis Ministries has a soft spot for grandparents. Besides playing an important role in healthy families, many grandparents also serve as kinship foster parents to their grandchildren. Even when they’re not serving as primary caregivers, grandparents serve as role models, providing generational wisdom, affection, guidance, and unconditional love to the children in their family.
So it’s altogether fitting that Grandparents Day takes place in September since this month is also National Kinship Care Month. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/outofhome/kinship/about/ describes kinship care as “the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of a child by relatives, members of their Tribe or clan, godparents, stepparents, or other adults who have a family relationship to a child.”
A significant portion of kinship caregivers are grandparents. Nationwide, about 2.7 million grandparents provide kinship care for children. In Kansas alone, of about 600 kinship homes served by Saint Francis, at least 270 are homes of grandparents.
Over the years, we’ve shared the stories of multiple kinship grandparents. The reasons kids get placed in care vary, but usually it comes down to the fact that their biological parents are incapable of providing the structure and security they need to be healthy and safe. Often, the grandparents are the only relatives both willing and able to provide that care.
We’re always humbled by grandparents who, having raised their own children, put their retirement plans on hold to raise their grandchildren. Somehow, they daily find the energy and will to shuttle young children to school and back, get teenagers to sports events, and ensure that the physical and emotional needs of the young people in their care are met. Yet, they would have it no other way … their love for their grandchildren takes precedence over everything.
They’re exceptional people, these kinship grandparents – and they deserve both support and respect.