Grandparents raising grandchildren NEED to know this

by Twila Doucet

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

If you are just starting to care for a grandchild, these are the basic things you need to know.

The needs of children can seem overwhelming, especially if you are unexpectedly thrust into the role of being their primary caregiver. First, focus on the basic needs, such as finding a safe place for the child to sleep; providing him with food, clothing, and any medication he might need; and getting the right kind of equipment, such as a stroller, car seat and crib. If he’s older, get as much information as you can about his school and other activities he might be involved in.

Make a binder or folder where you keep all of these important papers so you can easily find them when you need them. You should have:

• Birth certificates, death certificates (if your grandchild’s parent is deceased), marriage records or divorce decrees for the parents
• Social Security cards or at least the numbers for the children
• Medical and dental records
• Power of Attorney, custody, guardianship, adoption or other legal papers
• Consent forms signed by parents for medical care and education
• School papers, such as report cards, evaluations, registration, etc.
• Proof of your grandchild’s income and assets (child support payments, trust fund, etc.)
• Proof of your income and assets (if you apply for public benefits, you’ll need these)
• Citizenship papers for you or for your grandchildren
• Military papers for you or their parents

Talk to the key people in your grandchildren’s lives, such as teachers, pediatricians, school social workers, and any lawyers or child welfare professionals who have been involved with your grandchild.

You should also make a phone list of all the local people and agencies you will work with as you raise your grandchild. Keep this list in your notebook or folder and post a copy near your phone.

How can I keep track of everything? Just do one thing at a time – and keep good notes about who you talk to and what they say. You may need to go back to your notes when you are seeking help for your grandchildren. Having good, accurate notes will also help you track your progress.

Good notes are very helpful when it comes to legal issues.

Get a notebook or binder and label the cover with the date of the first entry in the notebook.

When the notebook is full, mark the date of the last note on the cover as well. Every time you talk to someone about your grandchild, write down – the date, the name of the person- the person’s title or relationship to the grandchild – the general topic you talked about – specific notes about your conversation then steps or to do list to follow up after the conversation.

LTCA of Enid Area Agency on Aging is here to help you with information and resources. Contact Twila Doucet, Caregiver Coordinator at 580-234-7475 or