Children in the care of their grandparents and other family members is becoming more prevalent in Muskingum County.
Ohio Governor John Kasich declared September Grandparent Month in honor of the thousands of grandparents who take on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Patrick Donovan, the Kinship Coordinator at the Muskingum County Child and Family Services said here in Muskingum County, there are hundreds of kids who are in foster homes, but others, are taken in by family.
"Here behind me, if you counted them all up, you’d find that there’s over 900 dolls. Each one of those dolls represents one child in Muskingum County that’s being raised by either a grandparent or other relative," said Donavan. "So if you really, if you think about the numbers, there are enough dolls here for an entire school in the county."
Donavan said the cause is usually due to parents suffering from mental illnesses, drug and alcohol problems, involvement with children services, incarceration, or sometimes, a combination of them all. Donavan works as an advocate for families who care for grandchildren or other family members. He helps qualified families receive benefits through the Kinship Navigator Program.
"If they have any issues that they need help with that I can help them with. Often times these issues could include getting custody of the child, getting a child enrolled in school. Often times hooking them up with different counseling agencies through Muskingum County. There’s really a pretty vast array of issues that a lot of these caregivers deal with and that’s really what I’m there for."
You can contact Donavan by calling 740-455-6710