The term “kinship care” refers to the care of children by relatives or close family friends. It is a growing issue nationwide as older adults, many retired, struggle to take care of their grandchildren.

According to a 2012 Census Bureau Report, almost 3 million grandparents in the U.S. were raising their grandchildren from infancy through the age of 18.

To help local grandparents and caregivers deal with this issue, the Kinship & Caregivers Empowerment Workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Grace Christian Church, 1401 E. Elms Road in Killeen.

The workshop is free to the public but child care will not be provided.

The presenters include David Woodberry of Texas Child Welfare Board, the Area Agency on Aging of Central Texas and Methodist Children’s Home Outreach, plus a representative of Legal Aid Services. In addition, Eric Prelow, a Killeen grandfather raising his grandchildren, including a special-needs child, will share his experience and the knowledge he has gained.

Phyllis Jones, of Kinship Empowerment and KISS Community Connections, is hosting the program.

“In Bell County, we have over 600 grandparents raising their grandchildren, and they need support and information to know what is available to them,” Jones said. Caregivers of elderly parents can also get information on support services.

“There’s a real need in our community to help those who are taking care of their grandchildren and seniors,” she said.

For more information, call Eric Prelow at 254-319-1844 or Bruce Bynum at 254-669-1363 or​Phyllis Jones at 254-702-2551

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