CLEARFIELD – Foundation funding now assures that the Grandfamilies program can start up in January in Davis County.
With nearly 8,000 children being raised by grandparents in Davis County alone, this program aims to give grandparents and the children they’re raising support through regular classes and activities.
Already in place in Salt Lake and Utah Counties, the Children’s Service Society will provide the program locally in partnership with Davis Behavioral Health and the Senior Services Division of the Davis County Health Department.
The Daniesel Foundation of Utah and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation of Utah are providing funding. Former Brigham Young University president Merrill Bateman and Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham have been pivotal in making it possible for the program to start in Davis County. That’s according to Jacci Graham, Children’s Service Society executive director.
In what Graham characterized as “really unusual,” she said her organization will provide the staff and Davis Behavioral Health will provide facilities for the classes and other activities. The health center will also provide a child therapist to coordinate the children’s group. A social worker will provide follow-up help to link clients with resources and group activities. Senior Services will also donate office space at the North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield.
Classes are limited to 15 families and enrollment is already about halfway to the maximum, Graham said. Those wishing to sign up should call 801-326-4409.
Regular activities will be offered including a summer barbecue, Halloween party and more, she said. In addition, local foundations ShareTix and Beatitudes will provide tickets to such events as Disney on Ice, Graham said.
The program is intended as a way to help both grandparents and their grandchildren adjust to what often is a situation neither ever imagined would happen, she said. Grandparents are often at retirement age and not expecting to raise another family. The disruption for children can also be very traumatic.
Often, kids must be removed from their parents’ care because of their parents’ being incarcerated, involved in drug use or otherwise incapacitated, Graham said.