SOUTHWICK – The Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District is hosting a free event open to the community on Thursday from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the community room at Powder Mill School focused on grandparent’s raising grandchildren.
Organized by the school district’s Special Education Parent Action Committee, the event will help guide grandparents on how to raise, parent, and educate their grandchildren who aren’t able to be raised by their parents.
Carolyn Roberts, the psychologist for the school district, will be giving a presentation along with Lina Racicot, the Director of Graduate Psychology at American International College.
Noell Somers, Director of Special Education and Student Services, and the direct liaison between the parents for the district’s Special Education Parent Action Committee, helped in coordinating this event.
“This is one of the topics that we thought might be helpful,” said Somers. “While it’s not directly under the umbrella of special education, for many of the grandparents that are raising grandchildren, their grandchildren have been identified with special education needs.”
School district officials have researched just how much of an issue this has become throughout the country and are hoping that those older adults who are finding themselves in this situation will come to the event on Thursday.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2014, out of 65 million grandparents in the country, seven million were raising grandchildren, just about 10 percent. In 1992 that number was at seven percent. In 2014, there was an estimated 79,000 grandchildren raised by grandparents in Massachusetts.
“Grandparents assume the responsibility for their grandchildren when their children are no longer involved or unable to take care of them anymore,” said Somers.
At the event on Thursday, Roberts said that a lot of the discussion will involve the dangers of opioids and how people can become addicted to it, which is a common cause for grandparents raising grandchildren.
Roberts hopes that not only grandparents will attend the presentation, but anyone in the community that might be affected by this or wants to learn more.
“This is a group of people that are really struggling and people just aren’t giving them the attention or the support that they need,” said Roberts.
The event will also include talking about all kinds of substance abuse, neglect, death, and other reasons why grandparents end up raising grandchildren.