COVID changes services offered by Healthy Grandfamilies

TAYLOR COUNTY—With the Coronavirus disease still very much a threat to the health and safety of residents, the folks at Family Services of Marion and Harrison have opted to change the face of their Healthy Grandfamilies program.

“First, we would like to thank everyone for their support that they’ve provided us through the extraordinary and trying times,” said Healthy Grandfamilies Coordinator, Family Services of Marion and Harrison Counties, Mendy Paugh. “The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many facets of our lives, including the services provided by our program.”

She expressed with a sad and heavy heart that it was announced that the program would now be offering only social work services to their grandfamilies. 

“Due to the pandemic and the need to keep everyone healthy and safe, this was the best options that we could come up with,” Paugh revealed. “This is only a temporary change in service provision, until it is safe to resume face-to-face meetings.”

Healthy Grandfamilies is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and led by West Virginia State University. Additionally, the program is a joint effort of Family Service of Marion and Harrison Counties, the Taylor County Board of Education and the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties.

Typically, the program offered a series of free discussion aimed at providing information and resources to grandparents who have taken on the responsibility of raising one or more of their grandchildren. 

“The discussion groups will resume when it is again safe to meet,” said Paugh. “This valuable service is not terminated, and we anticipate the day we can serve our grandfamilies with these in-person educational and personable gatherings.

For now, the Grandparents As Parents Support Group meetings will continue to meet virtually. 

“The Facebook group, West Virginia Grandfamilies-Harrison County, will continue to provide families with ongoing support and information,” Paugh stated. “We encourage participants to check out our social work services that may help them on their journey.”

Participants in the program are able to take advantage of three months of free follow-up services, including information and referral services, linkage to community resources, confidential supportive services to meet he unique needs of each family situation and accessibility to the Grandfamily Financial Assistance Fund, which assists when no other resources are available.

“The Healthy Grandfamilies program is designed to assist and educate grandparents in multiple areas of childhood development,” said Candace Golaszewski, social worker and case manager.

 According to Paugh, any grandparent raising one or more grandchild is encouraged to contact the program for assistance, support and advocacy.

 “Even though we have experienced changes in the ways we help grandfamilies, we will continue to be a source of assistance for any of these families in need during these trying time,” Paugh voiced.

 For more information about Healthy Grandfamilies and how you can be a part of the program, please contact Golaszewski by phone at 304-366-4750 ext. 113 or by emailing [email protected].

 Additionally, Paugh may be contacted by email at [email protected].

 “We hope that you all stay safe and healthy during these extraordinary times,” imparted Paugh.



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