Support for Relatives as Parents Spring 2011

March 10, 2010; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…………………………………………..a pdf poster is attached.
CONTACT:  Candy Eaton, Program Director
Downeast Children’s Council, a program of Downeast Health Services Inc.
52 Christian Ridge Road, Ellsworth, ME  04605

207-667-5304, ext.




“Down East Support for Relatives Caring for Children”

If you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other guardian caring for children of relatives, you are invited to join other caregivers in two monthly support groups held in Hancock and Washington counties.  The Downeast Children’s Council, a program of Downeast Health Services, is pleased to remind you of a monthly “Relatives As Parents” support group that meets on the first Tuesday of every month in Machias and the second Tuesday of every month in Ellsworth.

If you are interested in participating in these FREE mutual support groups, please call Candy Eaton at 667-5304 ext. 261.  Everyone is welcome.  Share your story, meet others in your situation, and learn about resources and activities at the following locations:

·         Downeast Health Services, 247 Main Street, Suite 2, Machias, 10:00am-11:30 on the first Tuesday of April, May and June 2011.

·         Downeast Health Services, 52 Christian Ridge Road, Ellsworth, 1:30pm-3:00pm on the second Tuesday of April, May and June 2011.

Every child’s family, however family is defined, has value, worth, integrity, and dignity.  All families have strengths.  The most desirable place for children to grow up is in their own caring families, when those families are able to provide safe and nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime. For generations, extended families have made arrangements to provide care for children whose parents are unable to do so. 

Despite the relatively high number of kinship families or “grandfamilies”, many of the caregivers do not know others who are in similar situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can be magnified for families who are already living in sparsely-populated rural areas.   These difficult life experiences faced by “grandfamilies” are countered by the joy of being part of the child’s life, the relief of knowing the child is safe, and the satisfaction of seeing the child thrive as his or her life becomes more stable.

Even though each story is unique, most of the children living with relative caregivers share a common experience of sadness or confusion about losing their birth parent, whether it is due to substance abuse, physical or mental illness, or other circumstances. It may be a temporary or permanent loss, or as often happens, an unpredictable one as a birth parent moves in and out of the child’s life. Because of this, some children wonder if their parents love them and why they are not there for them. Many children know the fear and instability of not being sure if someone will take care of them or if they will be safe.

Downeast Health Services Inc. seeks to support the many families who have recently undertaken the unexpected responsibility of caring for a relative’s child.   These relatives’ lives are complicated, yet they are experienced parents and bring history and past lessons to a new relationship with their relatives’ children.  Throughout Hancock and Washington Counties, there are others who share many similar experiences and feelings.   Please call 667-5304 ext. 261, email or visit our website at for additional information on parenting classes, support groups and family resources available in Downeast Mmaine.   To learn more about Maine Kids-Kin and its services, visit or call 1-866-298-0896.

pdf icon3.10.11 SPRING 2011 RAPP support groups.pdf

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