There are 24,000 children in Utah that have a grandparent as their primary caregiver. These children come to their relative’s home with a myriad of issues and their grandparent(s) caregivers face many obstacles in meeting their needs.
Our Deputy Director, Carrie Schonlaw, is the guardian and caregiver for her granddaughter and recently, she shared her family’s story:
Like Carrie mentioned, each Grandfamily will have its own unique needs. If you are a grandparent raising your grandchild, there are services that can help meet your family’s needs. Grandfamilies at Children's Service Society has support groups for grandparents and grandchildren, as well as advocacy and crisis intervention services available virtually or by phone statewide.
Additionally, when grandparents take in grandchildren to raise, they sometimes need assistance to meet financial obligations. Federal and state public benefits programs can help with income, food, healthcare, home energy, telephone, and other needs for those who are eligible. Eligibility requirements vary with each public benefit.
Some benefits are for the family and others are for children or older adults individually. Children are often eligible for public benefits even if their caregivers do not have guardianship or legal custody. Older adult caregivers may become eligible for benefits programs when their household size increases.
We recognize that this can be a lot of navigate, so the Benefits Enrollment Center at the Area Agency on Aging-Five County is here to help grandparents with screening for eligibility and applying for benefits like SNAP, HEAT, Medicaid and more for both grandparents and grandchildren. For assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When grandparents raise grandchildren, there are often needs that both sides have that families need help to meet. The Area Agency on Aging-Five County and Grandfamilies of Utah are here to help as much as possible!
Kristina Raner has been with the AAA-Five County since 2015. She holds a master's degree in Public Administration and is a certified Dementia Specialist. Kristina serves as the lead for AAA-Five County's Benefits Enrollment Center, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, and Media Outreach.