Parents Again: A WGEM News In-Depth Report - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Parents Again: A WGEM News In-Depth Report

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Keryona shows her grandma her tablet. Keryona shows her grandma her tablet.
Natalie Will speaks to Perkins and her grandchild. Natalie Will speaks to Perkins and her grandchild.
Quincy Early Childhood Center Director Julie Schuckman says almost every class has a one child being raised by a grandparent.jpg Quincy Early Childhood Center Director Julie Schuckman says almost every class has a one child being raised by a grandparent.jpg
Judge Bringer Shepherd presides over Marion County 10th Circuit. Judge Bringer Shepherd presides over Marion County 10th Circuit.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

When they are supposed to be enjoying their "golden years", more and more grandparents in the Tri-States are becoming parents again.

At age 65, Gloria Perkins is starting over. She's now raising four grandchildren. 

"I figured retirement would be a time I could be to myself, travel and have fun, but no," Perkins said.

When we met up with her, Perkins and her five year old granddaughter, Keryona were spending time at home. The house fills up quickly when the school bus drops off the other grand kids--ages 10, 12, and 14.

"I try to get the house together," Perkins said. "Until they get home from school and then start all over again."  

Due to past drug addiction and trouble with the law, Perkins said her son is unable to take care of his children. 

Perkins isn't alone.  

I love them. They are my grandkids. I didn't know what else to do.

In the most recent study done by the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.7 million grandparents were raising their grandchildren.

"I would say almost every classroom has at least one that has a child that is being raised by grandparents or is in grandparents care for a short term," Quincy Early Childhood Center Director Julie Schuckman said.

Schuckman said a safe and stable home environment is crucial to a child's long-term achievement. 

"'I've got a safety net at home and I can predict who is going to be there everyday and how my life is going to go,'" Schuckman said. "(That's) probably one of the most, if not the most, crucial factors in the success of kids."

Many involved with the child welfare system point to drug use as the reason behind the growing trend.

Presiding Marion County Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd sees it in her court room.

"The vast majority of those cases are substance related," Bringer Shepherd said. "Use of substances has prevented that parent from being able to safely take care of their children."

As this trend continues, lawmakers at the state and national levels are starting to consider additional support and services specifically for grandparents raising their grandchildren.  

Bringer Shepherd, a former state representative, said providing additional resources comes down to money.

"Kinship care reimbursement I think would be something worthy to be examined by the state and federal legislatures," Bringer Shepherd said. "But again, it's a matter of budgeting." 

Perkins said providing for and raising her four grandchildren is a struggle, but says she wouldn't have it any other way. 

"I love them," Perkins said. "They are my grandkids. I didn't know what else to do."

If a child is in state custody, government-funded assistance can be either provided or in some cases mandated through the court. Bringer Shepherd said that can range from drug treatment for the parent, or child if they are older and need it, to counseling or health care.


Help is available in the Tri-States. Below are options for help in your area:

ILLINOIS
All Our Kids Early Childhood Networks
Adams County Health Department
Contact: Triena Dietrich
Phone: (217) 222-8440 ext. 107
Email: tdietrich@co.adams.il.us

United Way of Adams County 
936 Broadway Street, Suite F 
Quincy, IL 62301 
217-222-5020

McDonough County United Way 
440 N. Lafayette, Suite 106 
Macomb, IL 61455-3814 
309-837-9180

United Way of Brown County 
PO Box 132 
Mount Sterling, IL 62353-0132 
217-773-3327

MISSOURI
Douglass Community Services, Inc.
Address: 711 Grand Ave, Hannibal, MO 63401
Phone: 573-221-3892

10 Circuit Juvenile Office (for counseling assistance)
County Government Office
Address: 304 Willow St, Hannibal, MO 63401
Phone: 573-221-1182

United Way of the Mark Twain Area (Hannibal, MO)
PO Box 81 
Hannibal, MO 63401-0081 
573-221-2761

IOWA
Big River United Way (Keokuk, IA) 
PO Box 251 
Keokuk, IA 52632-0251 
(319) 524-4504

Fort Madison Area United Way (Fort Madison, IA) 
732 Ave. G 
Fort Madison, IA 52627 
(319) 372-3585


Below is a report by the US Census Bureau on grandparents raising their grandchildren released in 2014:

  • WGEM Web Poll

  • Do you know someone raising their grandchildren?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes
    100%
    7 votes
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