More grandparents raising grandchildren, Utah organization aims to help


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Utah’s rate of opioid use is one of the highest in the nation. As a partial result of that, more than 1 million grandparents are now responsible for their grandchildren in the United States. 

Beth Klaus has been raising four of her grandchildren for five years now.

Beth explains, “I got guardianship in Utah because the mom is a drug addict. She does pills, and meth, and alcohol.” 

Beth did her best to take care of her daughter’s children from afar, even getting them a secret cell phone to keep in touch. That’s because, before the kids permanently moved in with their grandmother, their life was still unstable and unpredictable. 

In the beginning moving in with their grandmother required an adjustment for everyone. In fact when the kids came, Beth was living in a retirement community. She found a house, and began parenting again. The kids now had rules, curfews, and chores. These adjustments weren’t all easy. 

Then Beth found the help she had been looking for at Children’s Service Society. Specifically, the Grandfamilies program. 

Encarnita Gallardo, the Executive Director of Children’s Service Society says,  “We help grandparents and relatives that find themselves raising their grandchildren due to opioid addiction, or drug addiction.”

There are classes for grandparents and their grandchildren, separated by age. Grandfamilies is unique in offering social-emotional support for these families, helping everyone involved adjust to their new situation. 

Beth and her grandchildren say the Grandfamilies program changed their lives

Beth says, “When I found Grandfamilies, you know, you think you’re the only one, because I was working so hard…but when you see other people, like in Grandfamilies, they have the groups…The kids, they went to those groups, and I went to those groups, and that’s when they learned that they are not alone, and that’s when I learned that I wasn’t alone.”

Now, everyone in Beth’s household seems to be settling in. The kids say they are thankful for their grandfamily especially their grandmother     

For more information on Children’s Service Society and the Grandfamilies program, click here. 

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