Looking at my calendar, September’s proximity caught me off guard. Since that means a lot of kids are going to be heading back to school in the near future, I can only imagine that’s not news to them.

It also explains why we’re hearing about more opportunities to share one of our programs that involves relatives who are taking care of another relative’s kids — sometimes called re-parenting, grandparents raising grandchildren, etc.

In our little corner of this world these programs are known as Relatives as Parents (RAP) and/or kinship care. And sure enough, we’re beginning to get the calls.

I heard about some program that helps with expenses if we’re taking care of our grandkids…

A friend who’s raising her niece and nephew said your office helps them from time to time…

Is there information that we, as school personnel, health department staff, clinics can share with our clients/patients?

RAP is a program designed to financially help these scenarios on a once-a-year basis — and it’s relatively broad. We have helped with beds/bedding, clothes, school supplies, youth activities and a variety of other needs.

As you can imagine, this time of year — with school start-up on the horizon — RAP can be very helpful indeed. School is not an inexpensive experience. Student fees, sports exams, driver’s education, supplies and so on. It all adds up, and sometimes the relatives can really benefit from a little extra assistance.

Imagine grandparents who have raised kids who’ve grown and moved away. Maybe they’re retired and have been doing OK with Social Security and a pension (if they’re fortunate enough to have one). Now, there are added — and unplanned for — expenses. Though they wouldn’t have it any other way, it still can be a strain.

When need exists, and there are resources to help, why not go for it?

There are some exceptions, however. As noted earlier, this is a once-a-year help, so if you’ve received some services within the last year, you’ll have to wait.

If the kids are in licensed foster care, or have open CPS cases, these too are ineligible. As to the rest of us — this is a great resource!

In our county, Bob Powell is the contact person for our Family Caregiver Support Program, which includes Relatives As Parents. Bob covers both north and south county and is available in either our Raymond or our Long Beach office—and he’s also available to come and present the programs to any of the aforementioned groups.

In Long Beach, call 360-642-3634, ext 2213. In Raymond, 360-942-2177, ext. 2506. Or, you can email him at powelrm@dshs.wa.gov.

We are here to help. If the need is there, let’s get together and make things work.

Information & Assistance

Long Beach: 360-642-3634

or 888-571-6558

Raymond: 360-942-2177

or 888-571-6557


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