(WBRE/WYOU) Some are calling it collateral damage from the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation. Damage that is changing the face of many families across our area.
The numbers of grandparents raising their grandchildren is increasing.
Lead I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick took a closer
These grandparents say they need help…They are now raising their grandchildren because their own children are addicted to opioids. That addiction leaves them unable to care for the children.
“It’s changing the whole dynamic of the family setting as we would know it.” said Brenda Saba
They belong to a group called grandparents raising grandchildren. They voiced their concerns to Congressman Lou Barletta to see what if anything can be done at the federal level to provide financial assistance..
“Huge financial impact at all levels taking care of these children. Providing daycare, providing the childcare for them and giving them an emotional support system that they need.” noted Saba
The state or federal funding they receive is very limited. In some cases non-existent grandparents can receive more state funding if they adopt their grandchidlren. But sometimes their kids fight those adoption efforts. Many grandparents simply don’t have the money to pay for a court fight. Joan Gower works for catholic social services–the agency tries to help these grandparents.
“This is not something they planned on. They were busy taking care of themselves and this was thrust upon them. They want to take care of their grandchildren but there are not enough funds.”
Drug counselors say the numbers of young parents addicted to opioids is going through the roof.
“We need to have our kids or whomever it might be seek treatment. Help does work. Help is readily available. There are a lot of resources out there.” said Jason Harlen, of Wyoming Alcohol and Drug Services