PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Millions of men and women who’ve raised their children to adulthood are part of a growing trend. They’ve become care providers to their grandchildren.
On Friday, a local event was held to get grandparents the help they need.
It’s a sobering message at the 15th annual grandparents raising grandchildren conference at the woodlands. Many of the grandmothers and grandfathers in this room are among the 2.5 million nationwide providing primary care to their grandchildren.
“She’s going to be 13 next month,” said Arline Matkins, Laflin resident, and grandmother.
Arline Matkins of Laflin carries a picture on her phone of her granddaughter, Madison, who along with her mother, found refuge in the Matkins’ home more than a decade ago.
“My daughter had breast cancer so she went through that and so it was good that they were there with us and that was the best way we could help them,” Matkins added.
“The economic situation for a young person to even find a place to live with a young child is very difficult,” explained Ed Matkins, whose grandchild lives with him.
It’s also difficult for grandparents. That’s where the Northeastern Pennsylvania Intergenerational Coalition steps in.
“And we try and help them as much as possible,” said Howard Grossman, the Chairman of NEPA Intergenerational Coalition.
The coalition provides a wealth of free financial, legal, and educational information and emotional support for grandparents who are helping raise children once again. The non-profit also provides some financial assistance, but it’s limited.
“Financial difficulties are the bane of a lot of these types of families,” Grossman added.
More help is afoot in the form of a bill in Harrisburg. It would provide funding throughout the entire state for grandparents to give that safe, nurturing, and happy home to their grandkids.
State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski introduced house bill 2858 in September. Through grant money from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the measure would provide grandparents a financial helping hand.
“That would really help subsidize their costs and then take away the mental strain of how do you do it, what do we do, what’s going to happen to our grandkids,” stated Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (d) 121st district.
More than two dozen vendors were also part of Friday’s ‘Grandparents Helping Grandchildren Conference.’
To learn more about the help the NEPA Intergenerational Coalition provides head to their website.