GAPP is available to any grandparent or relative who is the primary caregiver of a minor child whose parent is not in the home.
Grandparents As Parents Program Stories
The Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) has assisted Mr. R, a single grandfather, for nearly five years since he stepped in to raise four grandchildren after the children’s drug-addicted parents proved incapable of caring for them. He was aware that the children were suffering from a poor diet, inadequate housing, neglect and lack of medical care before he petitioned Juvenile Court for their custody. Despite his own health problems, Mr. R was determined to give the children—two of whom are in Special Education classes at school—the safe and stable home they had never known.
Last year, after suffering a stroke, Mr. R asked for help from a GAPP Volunteer Advocate to prepare for a grandchild’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) school meeting. Mr. R, usually a very competent person, felt that his thought processes were slower than usual, and he was temporarily having trouble articulating his views.
During his advocacy meeting, he and his Volunteer Advocate carefully made a list of the modifications he hoped to propose for his grandson’s education plan. Mr. R, accompanied by his Volunteer Advocate, was able to request and achieve the significant changes he wanted for his grandson. The new IEP allowed his grandson to be “mainstreamed” into additional classes and to have more interaction with classmates. Mr. R stated that having an advocate accompany him to the meeting was “very reassuring” and successful. It was to assist families facing challenges like Mr. R’s that GAPP’s Volunteer Advocacy project was created.
Accompanying Mrs. M to Juvenile Court
Mrs. M is one of many great-grandparents in the Grandparents as Parents Program with a long history of caring for family children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. She had raised her granddaughter, now a young adult who was living with her when the young woman recently decided to move out on her own, virtually abandoning her 2½ year-old child to Mrs. M’s care. Concerned that the young mother had no job, no place to live, and no experience caring for her child, Mrs. M asked to meet with a GAPP Volunteer Advocate to discuss the process of petitioning Juvenile Court for custody of her great-grandchild.
In addition to their initial advocacy meeting, the volunteer accompanied Mrs. M to her Juvenile Court hearing where she was granted emergency custody. She later accompanied her to subsequent hearings when the court reviewed the mother’s progress to assume care of her child. However, the child’s mother has yet to make any progress, while Mrs. M continues to provide excellent care for her great-grandchild. Attending Grandparent to Grandparent support meetings to share her experience with other grandparents and gain information from the discussions has continued to be very helpful to Mrs. M.
Phone: (865) 524-2786
P.O. Box 51650
Knoxville, TN 37950-1650
2247 Western Avenue