Information & Assistance: More and more relatives taking care of one another

Explaining Relatives as Parents

By Doug Sheaffer

sheafdf@dshs.wa.gov

Olympic Area Agency on Aging

Published on January 13, 2015 12:48PM


I was recently at a meeting when something cool happened. A woman sitting next to me said the last time I mentioned RAP (Relatives As Parents), she passed the information to a friend who was in relative-as-parent mode.

She went on to say that after contact was made, we were able to help this friend with some unexpected expenses related to her new circumstances. Like I said: cool. Not only is it rewarding to hear about things working out well, but it also is gratifying to know that when we are getting the information out, it’s more than just words. It actually satisfies a need.

Call it re-parenting or any other catch-phrase, but it’s out there and it seems to be increasing. RAP or kinship care is designed to provide once-a-year help with some of the costs involved in being parents — again.

While many may have heard of grandparents raising grandchildren, this also covers nieces, cousins, etc. And we’re beginning to see great-grandparents in the mix. And these grandpas, grandmas, aunts, uncles and so on wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all about family.

Sometimes, (probably often) if it’s been a while since raising their own kids, there are bound to be surprises in store. School activities have changed over the years and the kids currently in school have a different experience than when we were in school. Since our kids have grown, this all may be new. School fees can sometimes to be a bit overwhelming, whether drivers education, sports fees or whatever.

It could something as basic and necessary as school clothes or materials, bedding, hygiene supplies and so on. Whatever the need, it is nonetheless a need and usually unplanned for until it comes up.

If an open DSHS case or licensed foster care is involved, other venues would have to be explored. Other than that, it’s a relatively broad program.

Financial assistance isn’t the only help available. We also have a lot of information we can share. We can assist with finding whatever else someone may be looking for.

For more information or to explore the possibilities in Pacific County, contact Kerry Buchanan at 360-942-2177, or toll free at 888-571-6557. You can also email her at buchaka@dshs.wa.gov. Or you can call any of the numbers at the end of this column and we’ll make the connection for you.

Thank you, families, for doing what you do. We all need a little help sometimes, so let’s see what we can do.

Information & Assistance

Long Beach: 642-3634

or 888-571-6558

Raymond: 942-2177

or 888-571-6557

www.o3a.org



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