History and Purpose
When parents are not able to raise their children, it is often the grandparents who step in to assume this responsibility. Many take on this role to “keep the family together” rather than having their grandchildren grow up in the foster care system. Unlike traditional foster parents, many grandparent caregivers who informally assume this responsibility are offered no training to raise traumatized children and receive limited financial assistance to meet their basic needs.
Project Healthy Grandparents (PHG) was founded at Georgia State University in 1995, and is housed within the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions. With a mission to improve the health and well-being of families in which grandparents are raising their grandchildren in parent-absent homes, PHG provides comprehensive health and support services and improved access to community resources. Since its inception, PHG has served more than 3,000 individuals, including grandparents and grandchildren and, on average, grandparent participants have 2.4 grandchildren in their care. PHG’s comprehensive services include monthly home visitations by registered nurses and social workers, parenting education classes and support groups, legal service referrals, as well as early intervention services for young children. In many cases, referrals are made to other healthcare or community service providers, and transportation services are available, if needed.