Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – For caregivers who find themselves raising their relatives’ children, finding support is not an easy task, however, Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Relatives Raising Relatives program has established three unique groups to provide caregivers with the answers and support they need.
“The Relatives Raising Relatives program is a valuable resource for caregivers who, through a variety of circumstances, have taken on the responsibility of raising their relative’s children,” said Program Coordinator, Jonathan Gilmore. “The groups that we offer through the Relatives Raising Relatives program are designed to help families deal with the challenges of raising their relative’s children.”
Gilmore said that on the first and third Tuesday of each month the program offers a support group that deals with the emotions and challenges that caregivers raising a relative’s child have to deal with everyday. A second support group, which focuses on issues such as navigating the service system, communicating with children, dealing with behavior problems, loss, and developing advocacy skills, is offered on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. This group provides caregivers with practical knowledge and the resources they need to be successful.
The third group, offered the last Thursday of each month, offers support to caregivers who are raising a relative’s child due to the child’s parents struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, or problems with the law.
“This support group focuses on the struggles and frustrations that caregivers face in communicating with the child as well as the parent who is choosing their addiction over their child or who is incarcerated. We provide caregivers with the knowledge and resources they need so that they are able to effectively communicate with the incarcerated parent and the sense of loss that the child is experiencing and provide proper support without being judgmental or becoming an enabler. There is a fine line between helping someone and becoming an enabler and this group makes it easier to understand where that line is,” explained Gilmore.
While the support and education the caregivers and their families receive from these groups is invaluable, Gilmore said that the bonds created with other families and the support they provide for each other is vital to the health of their family unit.
“It is important that caregivers and their families realize they are not alone and that their family environment is not unique. Families learn so much from sharing their experiences with each other and discussing how each family deals with similar struggles that they face,” said Gilmore.
All support groups offered through the Relatives Raising Relatives program are held from 10 – 11:30 a.m. at Catholic Charities offices at 365 W. First St. in Fulton.
Groups are also available the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Pulaski Elementary School, Hinman Road in Pulaski from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
For more information on the Relatives Raising Relatives Program, or to learn more about eligibility for the program, contact Gilmore at Catholic Charities of Oswego County at 315-598-3980 ext.233.
Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.
Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.