November 20, 2019

Grandparents Caring for Young Children Need Support

Across the United States of America, grandparents are struggling to make ends meet after claiming custody over their grandchildren. While, in many cases, these grandparents are claiming custody to keep their grandchildren safe, healthy, and supported, many are doing so with little to no support. In her article, Grandparents Caring for Their Grandchildren Happens for a Variety of Reasons, Susan Pena explores this complex issue.


In her article, Susan Pena expresses that the opioid crisis is far-reaching, with many having friends, family members, or loved ones who have been affected. With this, some of the most at-risk individuals impacted by this crisis are the children of adults struggling with addiction and the challenges that come with it. Pena states that “often grandparents are on the front lines of this crisis, raising their grandchildren–or even, in some cases, great-grandchildren, while struggling with their own financial and health issues.” Many are doing it with little to no outside support.

Grandparents and older family members can claim primary custody over relative children for many reasons, some of which include:

    • the incarceration or death of a loved one,
    • loved ones impacted by substance use or addiction, and
    • unsafe living conditions for a young child.

In her powerful piece, Pena highlights three real-life stories of grandparent caregivers. Read the full article to learn more.

What You Can Do

KinConnector Helpline

If you’re a grandparent caregiver seeking support, call the KinConnector Helpline at 866.546.2111 for more information on resources, including help with financial, health, and legal issues; training and parental advice; and nearby support groups. The Helpline is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Trying Together Grandparent Council

If you’re a grandparent who is interested in working to ensure all young children receive high-quality care and education, consider joining Trying Together’s Grandparent Council. The Council meets monthly to:

    • learn more about the importance of early childhood education,
    • receive guidance and support in identifying high-quality early learning environments,
    • and learn how to advocate for the well-being of all children in our communities.

Visit our Grandparent Council page to learn more.

More Information

To read the full article, visit the Reading Eagle website.


August 16, 2019

Improving Outcomes for Families Affected by Opioids

Join the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness on August 22 for “Improving Outcomes for Families Affect by Opioids” to learn how Early Head Start and Head Start are uniquely positioned to support children and families impacted by opioids and other substance use disorders.


In this three-part webinar series, expert specialists will provide information on:

    • perinatal opioid use;
    • infants exposed to opioids;
    • the impact of the opioid crisis on young children, parents, families, and communities; and
    • how to help support young children and their families impacted by opioid and substance misuse.


To register for the webinar, visit the event webpage.


August 2, 2019

PA DHS Announces KinConnector Helpline

On August 1, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (PA DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller and Aging Secretary Robert Torres announced a helpline for families in kinship care situations, including grandparents raising their grandchildren because of the opioid crisis.


The KinConnector helpline was created by Act 89 of 2018, which established a kinship navigator program for Pennsylvania. KinConnector will act as a bridge that helps families identify resources, including gaining access to local, state, and federal resources. The KinConnector helpline is staffed by Kinship Navigators–compassionate, knowledgeable social service professionals prepared to help families locate, understand, and access resources that may be able to help them. This helpline, however, is just the beginning. A website of resources is set to launch in late 2019.

KinConnector Helpline

KinConnector can be reached by calling 1.866.KIN.2111 (1.866.546.2111). Assistance is available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Examples of provided services include:

    • connecting caregivers to health, financial, and legal services,
    • connecting caregivers to training and parenting advice,
    • identifying local physical or behavioral services,
    • identifying support groups,
    • helping caregivers enroll a child in school,
    • helping caregivers apply for federal, state, and local benefits such as CHIP and Social Security,
    • and other services designed to support caregivers.

Why Kinship Matters

Kinship care is becoming more common in Pennsylvania, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, or siblings often stepping in to fill the role of parents who are seeking treatment or, in the most tragic cases, have died from the disease of addiction. Kinship care guardians often make a selfless choice to care for a young relative and ensure they receive care and support from a family member they know and trust, even when processing their own emotions around their family’s situation.

Children being cared for by relatives are less likely to end up in foster care and will experience better outcomes when they are living with a relative or someone they know. KinConnector will help ease the burden on these families and give them the tools and resources they need to be successful.

More Information

For more information on resources available for kinship families and grandparents raising grandchildren, visit

Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services


May 9, 2019

Day of “SELF” Discovery Conference

The Day of “SELF” Discovery Conference is held each year to celebrate individuals who are involved in their own personal Recovery Journey!


This Conference serves as a way to learn tools to help promote Recovery, learn about available resources and services, share experiences related to personal recovery journeys, as well as a time to network and renew friendships made in previous years at the Conference.  Ultimately, this Conference is held each year to celebrate the infinite possibilities that lie within each of us! The 19th annual Day of “Self” Discovery Conference, “Caravan To Wellness: Just For The Health Of It!” will focus on knowledge and awareness to improve the overall mental and physical wellness of conference attendees.

In addition to some very stimulating workshops and presentations, the conference includes continental breakfast, lunch, raffles, and prizes as a part of the day’s activities.  The Joyce King “EveryDay People” Award will be highlighted during the lunch break.  Joyce King believed strongly that people who receive behavioral health and/or addiction services should have a voice in their treatment and that their voices must be heard!  The conference will also include a Recovery Panel Presentation.


For the registration form, agenda, and more information, see the event PDF. 

Registrations must be submitted before May 30, 2019, via mail or fax.


June 7, 2018

The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Young Children

A series of articles are highlighting the impact of the opioid epidemic on young children and families. These report on the growing number of families affected, and the work being done to combat the crisis. Additionally, parents and children share their experience living with addiction and recovery from it.

In a series called “The Fix”, PublicSource is exploring personal tales of those affected in Pittsburgh.