University of Illinois Extension

Other Groups That Give Support

Cammy Seguin, Family Life Educator

Is there any other group besides a grandparent support group that knows what I'm going through?

Parenting is never an easy task. When you add the fact that the children's parents may be coming in and out of the picture, and the grandchildren may have special emotional and physical needs due to their past, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

Talking over your problems at a grandparent support group can help. But, other groups can help as well. Check your phone book for some of these resources:

  • Al-Anon Family Groups - Al-Anon can be a help to you if your grandchild's parent is involved with drugs or alcohol. Meetings are free of charge.
  • Family mediation services - These services can help families work out agreements about the care of children. Services are usually free or low-cost. Your local court that handles custody agreements can tell you if family mediation services are offered.
  • Family counseling - Mental health centers often offer family counseling. These agencies can help you work on problems you are facing and help you improve relationships. Usually fees are charged on a sliding scale. Sometimes your personal health coverage will help cover the cost.
  • Foster Parent Associations - Many state or local foster parent groups meet to offer support and information. Those who attend have had experience raising children with backgrounds and needs much like your grandkids.

In addition, they are likely to have advice when working with child welfare agencies. To locate the group closest to you, write to the Illinois Foster Parent Association at 310 E. Adams, Springfield, IL 62701. Or you can contact the state president, Judy Battig, by phone: 815/965-1657, or e-mail: JLBattig@aol.com.

It may take some searching to find these groups, but don't get discouraged. Ask others in a grandparent support group or call local agencies.

Reference: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Guide To Finding Help and Hope by Marianne Takas, Brookdale Foundation Group, 1995.