First Things First

Amanda Reyes Did you know that in Arizona more than 100,000 children are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives? Many parents are unable to take care of their children due to substance abuse, incarceration, mental illness, child abuse or death. Financial difficulties are very common in retirement which is complicated even further by needing to look after a child too. Hopefully, shrewd retirement planning can make life easier. Learning about ira vs 401k would be extremely useful for anyone looking to the future. Grandparents who then accept the responsibility of raising their grandchildren must deal with school systems, health coverage, legal issues, financial concerns and complex family situations. This leaves many of these second time around parents feeling overwhelmed. This is especially true for those raising young grandchildren ages five and younger. Being a Grandparent with such responsibility can be concerning due to the fact many elderly people require the care of their own as they get older. In fact, many would benefit from exploring some of the aged care options available to them. Fears over the financial state of affairs often hold people back from doing this. This is why it might be worth researching more about Aged Care Financial Advice. Those grandparents have an ally in the many programs and services funded by First Things First, a voter created organization dedicated to expanding education and health services for kids ages birth to five. First Things First has partnered with Duet’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program to help bring some much needed resources to the PebbleCreek and other southwest Maricopa communities. Grandparents in their new role have unique issues and these particular needs are addressed through support groups, workshops, group activities for families, respite assistance, legal guidance and Information and referral services. Another resource for grandparents raising young grandchildren available throughout Arizona is the Birth to Five Helpline, a free connection to child development experts who listen to a caregiver’s concerns and give wise counsel on topics from fussy babies to dietary problems to behavioral issues and developmental delays. Operated by Southwest Human Development and funded by First Things First, the Birth to Five Helpline is a free service available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays at 1-877-705-KIDS. Parents, grandparents and caregivers are a child’s first and most important teachers. Since 90% of a child’s critical brain development happens by age five, learning begins at home. Early intervention, health, education and early literacy are crucial to ensure that young children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. Young children need stimulation and interaction throughout their lives, but lack of enrichment can be most damaging in the very early years. It is true for adults and true for babies—use it or lose it! Babies and young children need stimulation to develop socially, emotionally and intellectually. Please take a moment to check out some of the resources listed for more in-depth information regarding the programs offered in your area. To find similar programs like these visit First Things First at In the Southwest Valley of Maricopa County: Duet: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren; call 602-274-5022 In Pima County: The Parent Connection; Parents as Teachers; call 520-545-3650. United Way of Southern Arizona; call 520-903-3954. In Pinal County: United Way of Pinal County: Families, Friends and Neighbor Care; call 520-836-0736.