Prince George, B.C.- Sunday, September 10th is Grandparents Day, and Parent Support Services of BC is marking the day with a special celebration for those grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
“These people are making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of children. They deserve to be honoured” says PSS’s Prince George Program Coordinator, Jessica Turner.
There will be events around the province, and in Prince George the festivities take place at Paddlewheel Park off Hamilton Avenue.
Running from 10-2pm on the 10th, the event will include live music and kids activities. Local MLA’s will be in attendance.
“People may be unaware of the numbers of grandparents and other relatives who step up to the plate when parents are unable”, points out Turner. She says the top reasons for parents no longer able to care for their kids are: death, mental health issues, substance misuse (including the current opioid epidemic), incarceration, abandonment, child abuse or neglect, and violence in the home. “These are children who have experienced trauma and would otherwise be in foster care.,”
PSS’s Executive Director Carol Madsen says often the children and the grandparents are experiencing grief and loss ” Many of these families experience financial hardship as they may use up all their retirement savings for child raising”.
She says grandparents don’t expect to be parenting at this stage in their lives and may have to deal with a number of legal issues including access and guardianship.
2016 Statistics show at least 13,000 children and youth in BC are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives.