For centuries, grandparents have been a stabilizing factor for families. Through wars, famine, and disease and in times of great need, grandparents have stepped in to raise their grandchildren. Today the opioid crisis has brought grandparents and other relatives back into the role of surrogate parents throughout the United States. Nationally, there are over 2.6 million grand-parenting families. More than half of these extended caregiving families have become necessary because substance abuse has preyed upon someone in their lives. In Knox County, it is estimated over 4,000 grandparents are raising their grandchildren.
Many times, the grandparents and relatives that take up the position of sole caregiver need help or someone to talk to or they may not be sure of where to go. Locally, the Grandparents as Parents (GAP) program serves grandparents and other relatives as they navigate their caregiving journey. This journey can be complex, challenging, and at times, downright difficult. Families are striving to meet the unique needs of children that are no longer in the care of their parents, and at the same time, also struggling to meet the needs of a child or family member in the grip of substance abuse. GAP offers information, resources, and referrals for a variety of topics including legal issues, housing, and food. Through the Metro Drug Coalition’s network of resources for prevention and recovery, GAP can help families connect with programs that match their needs.
GAP also provides access to the full range of social services available through the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC). CAC offers help with emergency home repairs, transportation, SNAP benefits, and even free help with preparing your tax returns.
GAP help is always free and is available at 865-524-2786.