Grand-Family Center Opens in Newark

By way of City Hall: in partnership Newark opens NJ’s first grand-family resource center. Over 10,000 families in Essex County, 4,000 of which are in Newark, have grandparents raising grandchildren. These centers provide a single source for services like Social Security, disability, and legal consultation.

Full press release after the jump.

Nation’s second and New Jersey’s first facility to support grandparents raising grandchildren by providing them with resources, counseling, and benefits assistance

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, State Salvation Army Commander Major Donald E. Berry and Newark Area Salvation Army Human Services Director Major Margaret Morris and other Newark dignitaries gathered today with grandparents who are raising their grandchildren at a ceremony to open the Essex County Grand Family Center, located at 699-711 Springfield Avenue in Newark.

This will be the nation’s second and the state’s first such resource center which will provide information and support for grandparents who are raising grandchildren. The Center is a partnership between the City of Newark, Essex County, and the Salvation Army, and is partially underwritten by a grant from the Nicholson Foundation, a philanthropic organization with a long history of supporting Newark.

“There are more than 4,000 households in Newark that are headed by grandparents, and these grandfamilies need our support. Raising children is difficult at any age – it is even more difficult for grandparents, advancing in age, to take up the full-time duties of child-raising a second time,” Mayor Booker said. “We have already opened Family Success Centers in Newark to support our parents and caregivers. This Grand Family Center will provide in one place the resources, services, and support that these larger families need to succeed and flourish.”

According to U.S. Census 2000 data, there are approximately 10,000 elderly Essex County residents are responsible for raising grandchildren for various reasons, including parental drug abuse, incarceration and abandonment. The new Grand Family Center in Newark will house a wide range of services to make it easier for grandparents to get information, support and services they need to better care for their grandchildren. They will have access to Social Security, disability, legal consultation, Medicare and Medicaid information and County welfare programs, including legal guardian information, child care, after school programs and homework assistance, computer lab, hot meals, recreation activities and support groups.

“The Grand Family Center is an ideal program model for The Salvation Army of Newark Area Services to provide the much needed support to our grandparents raising their grandchildren. This is a growing population in our communities who have diverse and multiple needs,” said Salvation Army Major Morris, “It is our goal to help these families reach and maintain family stability, through the collaborative partnerships of both public and private agencies.”

Annually, the Salvation Army assists over 1,000 Grand Families throughout Essex County. Services are funded through the Kinship Navigator Program, a division of Family Development in NJ, the Nicholson Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, and the Schumann Foundation.

East Orange resident Frances Banks was one of the grandparents who attended the ceremony. She raised her grandson, who is now 18 years old, and has been a staunch advocate for greater resources to help grandparents raising their grandchildren, “The Salvation Army helped me to give my grandson the extra things that I was unable to give him at that time such as Christmas toys, school clothes, and other essential resources I needed to care for him,” she said. “It’s challenging when you are a senior on a fixed income to raise your grandchildren and our grandparents need all the help they can get. This center was greatly needed and I am grateful to all of the groups that came together to make this dream a reality!” For information about the Grand Family Center, call 973-373-5045 or visit www.njsalvationarmy.org

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Newarker, PCA Elder, Business Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

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