In the United States, increasing numbers of grandparents and other relatives are taking over the parental responsibilities for their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews

According to the AARP, over 110,000 kids in Missouri are living with their grandparents. Relatives who step in to care for a child are often the best resource for that child. However, a “GrandFamily” parent may also face significant challenges, including coming up with enough money to provide for the child, getting the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, obtaining legal custody, and finding affordable medical insurance for the child. Fortunately, there are available resources specifically designed to help grandparents and other relatives who are raising minors.

AARP Missouri, University of Missouri Extension program, and The Center have joined together to present a special, completely free, event called the “GrandFamily Conference” at The Center in Rolla Missouri, from 8:15 to 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 9, 2013. “This conference will provide important information and resources as well as offer support to those parenting the second time around,” AARP Missouri Associate State Director for Community Outreach Diane Hall said. “Grandparents and the grandchildren they are raising need support now more than ever,” she added. “There are many joys for grandparents raising grandchildren, but there are also significant challenges that range from financial to emotional.”

During the morning sessions of the Rolla GrandFamily Conference, qualified professionals, including Human Development Specialist and Pulaski County Extension Program Director, Sarah Traub, will present a number of topics of interest to GrandFamily parents who caring for children of all ages. Following a complimentary lunch, Diane Hall will present an “afternoon energizer,” addressing the topic of “Changing Roles in a Changing World.” The conference will conclude with an informative legal issues panel.

While the adults are attending the conference sessions, the grandchildren can have a great time at The Center. Children five and up may participate in play and craft activities in the gym and will be able to swim in the facility’s indoor pool from 12:30 – 2:00 PM. Children 3 months to four years will be supervised in Stay N’ Play.

This free event is open to the public, but registration is requested no later than March 4, 2013. For additional information and to register, call The Center at 573-341-2386 or send an email to or