Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that older adults and people with underlying chronic health conditions are at increased risk for serious illness from the coronavirus. 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, West Virginia has the highest percentage of at-risk adults of any state in the country

 

This is one of the reasons Gov. Jim Justice gave at a press conference on March 13, when he announced that schools would close.

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A new study has found that when grandparents were either the main caregiver or lived in the home with children, the children had a 30 percent increased risk in being overweight or obese. 

The authors reviewed 23 studies across the globe and found the risk seemed to be present no matter where in the world the child lived. 

The authors said grandparents can have a big influence on both daily diet -- for instance giving sweets and fried foods as a token of love or through physical activity -- being more likely to excuse a child from chores. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We end our weeklong look at our best stories from 2017, where we stepped into the archives to retell some of our favorite stories from last year.

This morning, we hear from reporters Kara Lofton and Glynis Board.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In 2016, 40 percent of Lakewood Elementary School students were being raised by a grandparent. That’s a stunning statistic considering that kids being raised by grandparents sometimes struggle with behavioral issues, and behavioral issues can cause problems with academics.

This year, that number dropped to 15 percent, but Lakewood principal Kelly Hayes thinks that’s a temporary dip, with more in the pipeline.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Grandchildren being raised by grandparents often spend months or even years of their lives bouncing from one home or situation to another. Inconsistency and a constant sense of the unknown can fuel anxiety, anger and aggression in them.


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At the Kanawha County circuit court, the Roberts family is celebrating. Today, Andy and Debbie have adopted their grandchildren, Preston, age 6, and Tesla,19 months.

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At the Epsworth United Methodist Church in Ripley, West Virginia, five grandparents sit around a table listening to a speaker tell them, “You are not alone.”

 

 

Although prayer is mentioned frequently at the meeting, religion is not the subject of today’s conversation - rather, how to communicate with grandchildren after grandparents are thrust into the role of primary caregivers.

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In 2014, more than a third of all children who were removed from their homes due to parental alcohol and drug use were placed with relatives. In many ways, that’s good news for kids. Research shows that grandfamilies protect against trauma and promote resilience. But the arrangement can also be incredibly difficult for the grandparents themselves - many of whom are older and dealing with their own challenges - especially when it comes to physical health.

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As the opioid crisis continues to impact Appalachia, children are being left behind. This morning we have the first of a series of stories about grandparents who take on the role of primary caregiver for their grandchildren. To begin the series, health reporter Kara Lofton talks with professor Megan Dolbin-MacNab - a researcher at Virginia Tech who is studying grandparent headed families - about the health impacts of this arrangement.