The number of grandparents raising children is increasing every year. The Brookdale Grandparent Caregiver Information Project says, the number of children living with grandparents has increased fifty percent in the last ten years. It is now even being tracked in the US Census.
Newschannel 6 was contacted by one viewer dealing with this very issue. We sat down with Nick Lukash who told us he is also doing this as a single parent.
Nick Lukash is raising his 12 and 10 year old grandchildren right now. He tells us it has been pretty difficult becoming a parent again. Although he is glad to provide a safe home for his grandchildren, it has been hard to find support groups for a grandparent learning how to become a parent again.
Nick Lukash comments, "Raising kids nowadays is way different from what it was when we raised our own kids." Lukash faces parenting challenges daily. He says as a grandparent he has provided some stability back into his grand kids lives.
Nick Lukash and his wife took full custody of their son's two children due to drug related problems. But a little over a year ago Nick's wife lost her battle with cancer and now he is raising the kids alone. He admits it has been hard. "School has changed so much from when I went to school and from when my kids went to school to now. They are so noticeable they are so obvious and yet you go, how do you deal with that?"
He looked for help. "There's no place to go and there's nobody to talk to as a grandparent. As much as we like to think we've got all the answers by virtue by how long we've been around, that is just not true."
So Lukash took it upon himself to start a support group called Parents Again through his church, Trinity United Methodist Church. A place where other grandparents in the same situation can find support. "Sometimes just talking to somebody really helps. That's a really big help just to be able to get things off your shoulders."
Since Lukash started the support group he hopes his message will spread. "There is hope and the biggest message I can give to anybody is that family is all important, everything else is second."
Parents Again meets the first Monday of every month at 6:30pm. The support group meets at Trinity United Methodist Church in Wichita Falls. You do not have to be a member of the church to attend and it is free. Babysitting is available at the church.
For more information you can contact (940) 692-9995 Ext:200 or you can email Nick Lukash at firstname.lastname@example.org
Newschannel 6 spoke with multiple agencies to try and get numbers of full time grandparents as care givers locally. They could not give us exact numbers because they say it is hard to track. However we did find out the Texas Department With Family And Protective Services is working harder to keep children in the homes of relatives instead of foster care.