Care Connection launches Kinship Connection program in Clinton

If you are one of the estimated 3 million older adults raising their grandchildren in the United States, Care Connection can provide support for your family.
Care Connection has partnered with ParentLink of University of Missouri and Friends of the Library to present a regular support group for grandparents and other relatives raising children in Henry County. The new group is part of the Kinship Connection program to serve relatives raising children.
The group will meet in the Community Room at 123 E. Green St., Clinton from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the third Wednesday of every month starting Nov. 16.
All participants will receive a free gift pack at each meeting, and the program will offer kinship caregiver credit for licensure through the state of Missouri.
Each session will provide practical information that adults 55 and older can use in their daily role as a grandparent or relative raising a child. Topics include challenges and stressors, wellbeing of children, and ways to help oneself and family.
ParentLink has curriculum that covers parenting subjects such as grief, valuing cultural differences, trauma, the impact of substance abuse, providing stability, and self-esteem.
Participation in the group is free, but registration is preferred. To register, call Tammy Wilkey at 660-438-3300, ext. 3, or Lisa Lewis at 1-800-748-7826.
Kinship Connection will be more than just a job assignment for Wilkey, a single grandmother raising three young grandchildren – a girl and two boys.
“It’s pretty rough sometimes,” said Wilkey. “In my situation, the boys have been through a lot. They don’t get to see their mother on a regular basis, and they do not understand why. That puts a lot of stress on the boys, and there are behavioral problems.”
The Kinship Connection Program is aimed at relatives who have the challenging task of caring for grandchildren younger than 18.
“I very much have struggled with finding the resources I needed,” said Wilkey, who has had guardianship of her grandchildren for three-plus years. “When I came to work at Care Connection, all these resources just fell into my lap. I think this information will be very helpful to other grandparents, if they just know the information exists.”
Wilkey and Lewis also are available for one-on-one support, information, and resources for kinship care.
The Kinship Connection and Family Caregiver programs are provided by Care Connection for Aging Services, a nonprofit area agency on aging serving people 60 and older. Care Connection operates 21 locations in these West Central Missouri counties: Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Saline, St. Clair, and Vernon. Its mission is to provide opportunities to create positive aging experiences. For more information, visit or call 1-800-748-7826.


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