Community, Education, Latest News, Preston County

Need for program increases as more kids raised by grandparents

KINGWOOD — Susie Huggins, After School Explorers program director, said there is a large uptick in the number of Preston County children being raised by their grandparents.

She said one study  shows that statewide 62.5% of school-age children are being raised in grandfamilies.

Huggins said the Preston County  Grandfamilies Coalition Healthy Grandfamilies is a free initiative that provides resources and information for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

Stephanie Duncan and Sheryl Maier are two  of the grandparents who  attended a recent grandfamilies meeting in Newburg.  

“My daughter was in high school when she had my first grandchild,” Duncan said. “I took care of the baby while she went to school.”

She said she helped her daughter with the baby until she was 10 and her daughter and granddaughter moved away.

“They moved back about a year ago. He (the father) left. She worked and I took care of the children,”  Duncan said. 

Now her daughter has two children.

 Duncan said there is a lot of helping involved when raising grandchildren.

“More with my first grandchild, since my daughter was a teen mom,” Duncan said. 

She said she was fortunate because her daughter was there all the time, even though she went to college for a while.

“There’s a fine line you have to walk, because you’re the grandparent and not the parent,” Duncan said. “I was 38 when my first grandchild was born. I was glad I was that young. I could go out and play and run.  My grandson is 4, and I can’t run around as much as I did then.”

Sheryl Maier is also helping raise her grandchild.

“I have a grandson who is 7. He came to live with me, because my daughter didn’t have adequate transportation to get him to school.”

She said it was a mutual agreement between her, her husband and their daughter that their grandson live with them. Maier said the child’s father visits him.

Maier said he has lived with her for about a year and a half. She said she and her husband want to go to court and get legal guardianship of their grandson, so they can put him on their health insurance. 

“Our home may have a little more stable environment,” Maier said. “I have a 13-year-old son, and they get along for the most part.”

She said the grandfamilies  program has helped her a lot.

“I usually bring my grandson with me. It gives me a chance to get out and be with people who are in the same situation I’m in,” Maier said. “He (grandson) gets to play with the other children.”

She said one week someone came in and spoke about legalities, another one talked about nutrition.

“You get to talk to people,” Maier said. “Say I am having a legal issue that might be similar to what you are going through,  you might be able to tell me where to find help.”

She said she will be glad when the COVID-19 problem is solved.

“I’m very disappointed with COVID. It closed us down. It’s good to be able to get out of the house for an evening,” Maier said.

In an email, Huggins said  weekly  Tuesday discussion groups will continue to meet through Oct. 20. 

Information about the meetings can be found at oncountycoalition  

To register for the Healthy Grandfamilies program, call Preston County Senior Citizens at 304-329-0464 or email

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