Q: I’m 67 years old. My niece has gotten involved bad with drugs. Her 5 and 3 year old were taken away from her and now the child welfare agency wants to know if I will take them. My niece has been doing drugs a long time and I honestly don’t know if she’s ever going to be able to get them back. I feel like I don’t have a choice.
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Dawn Davenport 0:00
Welcome, everyone to weekend wisdom by Creating a Family. This is a short form, or at least short by compared to our regular podcast. They should last around five to 10 minutes where we answer a question that is sent in by our audience. If you would like to submit your own question for us to answer, send it to info at creating a family.org just send it to their put somewhere in the array line, the subject line that is for you the weekend wisdom, our question for dawn or something along those lines. Today's question is, should you step in to parent your grant niece or grandchild? All right, I'm going to read the question to you. I'm 67 years old. My niece has gotten involved bad with drugs. Her five and three roll were taken away from her. And now the child welfare agency wants to know if I will take them in. My niece has been doing drugs for a long time. And I honestly don't know if she's ever going to be able to get them back. I feel like I don't have a choice. This is sadly not an uncommon situation that we see. We hear all the time that kinship caregivers, grandparents, great aunts, cousins, whatever, feel like they have to take in their kids children. They almost universally don't feel like they have a choice after all family cares for family. Right? And yes, that is true. But Dr. Joseph crumbly who is a family therapist who specializes in kinship care, and he is a kinship caregiver himself. Dr. Crumley says that you must ask the question of whether you should take in the child, you do indeed have a choice. And it's important to think through the following questions to decide if you are the right person to parent this child for the long run. So obviously, a lot depends on whether you think your care will be needed for a short period of time or for the long term. But it's important to note that, honestly, most grandparents and other kin assume that it's only going to be for a short time. And that assumption is not always right. So according to Dr Crumley, the first question you need to ask is, can you meaning can you adequately care for to take care of this child? To know you need to answer the following questions? First? Do you have the physical, emotional and financial ability to parent now and as the child ages? And the further complicate that question is, if it's not complicated enough, you must assume that this child will have unique needs, including mental health and educational struggles. They have experienced loss and trauma, and that impacts behavior and learning. And also many of these children will have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and drugs and prenatal exposure to substances also impacts behavior and learning. So the next question that you should ask yourself is, what services and support will you need? Can you find and afford the services and support? For example, can you find daycare? Can you afford daycare, you may need respite care? You may need mental health services, does your insurance cover that which have illegal permanency options that are available to you, that will help you afford as well as finally services? The third question under canyou is, do you have the time to care for a child and provide for their everything you know, their physical needs, emotional needs, educational needs spiritual needs? Do you have that time? And the third? Do you have a support system in place often from your family, your community, your church and your friends? You will need support. So the question is do you have it? Alright, the second question to ask is should you should you become a caretaker for this child? As I said, many grandparents and other kin feel they don't have a choice. But honestly, obligation and guilt are not enough for the long term, you must assume you are making a long term commitment. And it's fair to ask if you are the best person to do this. Is there someone else in a better position to take the primary responsibility for the raising this child while you play a supporting role? Alright, and the third question Dr. crumbly says you should ask is can you continue? So even if you are already caring for this child, you must ask if you're the right person for the future. Are you in the best position to continue to be the primary caretaker for this child? Circumstances change? And let's be honest, both you and the child will continue to age are you still the best person to raise this child? I know that these are hard questions to ask and even harder to answer. But it's important to honestly ask and answer them before you make the decision. If for no other reason, feeling empowered, that you do have a choice. It is very helpful as you move forward. So thank you, everybody for tuning in to this week's weekend wisdom. Please tell a friend about it. And also let me mention the creating a family Lake interactive training and support group curriculum. As I keep saying, I am so proud of this resource. It is such a good resource. We have 25 curriculum, and each curriculum comes with a video and facilitator guide a handout directly relevant to that topic, and additional resources. If you need a certificate of attendance, we have that as well. So go to our website, creating a family.or, hover over the word training, and click on Support Group curriculum. I think you will find it to be so helpful if you are a parent. And you would like to utilize this you want your agency to utilize this either and running a support group that you're interested in having some skill building or if you need training hours, suggest this to your agency. Again, creating a family doc or hover over the word train and click on Support Group curriculum. Thank you guys.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai