Like the rest of the nation, more of Kentucky’s grandparents have become a child’s primary care giver. Looking for support, many of the older parents gathered recently in Lexington. Nearly a quarter of America’s children live with a single parent. Nearly five-million live in their grandparent’s home. It’s nothing new to Lexington resident Sandy Flynn. 21 years ago, Flynn and her husband adopted their grandson. Then a couple years ago, Flynn took a set of two-year-old twins, plus three granddaughters into her home. She says that’s a pretty typical situation these days.
“So,’ it’s not just one cute little baby coming into your home. It’s five and six kids coming in and they’re all coming at one time. So, it’s overwhelming,” said Flynn. Planned cuts in state assistance for child care are prompting concern among Kentucky’s older care givers. The state’s cutting a program that pays relatives who care for children taken from their parents. Flynn called the funding vital. “You know we have a lot of families who depend on kinship care. Some of them, that’s the only income they have. So, we’re all very interested in calling Governor Beshear getting him to rethink that and not stop that,” added Flynn. Last week in Lexington, several agencies sponsored the annual ‘Grandparents As Adults’ conference. Organizer Diane Doggett says the turnout has steadily increased. “We know from all the social services and all our coalition partners that we are experiencing more and more people that are seeking information. When we obviously put out the call for the conference, our numbers climb every year,” said Doggett. Doggett says fewer than a hundred people attended their first session eleven years ago. Last week’s event attracted close to 400 people and included 13 work sessions.