Drug epidemic leaves many children being raised by grandparents

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - As the drug epidemic tears through Eastern Kentucky it is leaving many children left to grow up without their parents. Many grandparents are now raising their grandchildren as Tom Salyer with Johnson County Schools explains, “In Johnson County we see what is on the national and state trend that a lot of grandparents are raising their grandchildren.”

That is when the Family Resource Centers step in to help both the students and their guardians. Family Resource Center worker Anita Cantrell says, “I think we are very fortunate in Johnson County to have grandparents and relatives to help our children who have been effected by drugs.” A story that is far too common.

Tama Ramey also with the Family Resource Center says, “Grandparents finding themselves maybe in complete stress, they are not only dealing with the drug problem in their own children but they are having to deal with what has happened as the result of that.” A situation these students had no control over.

Officials say they are committed to doing everything possible to make these students feel normal in their new environment both in school and at home. Ramey says, “If they can see that they can progress in a seemingly normal environment than we've successfully made that transition.”

The goal is to help alleviate the stress the children and grandparents feel from time to time and to take down any barriers they may face. The Family Resource Centers provide tutoring and college prep classes. They also can help fulfill needs for food, clothing, or finances, for both the students and the grandparents who are now caring for the children. Officials say they can even help provide uniforms or equipment a child may need to participate in extracurricular activities.

As the war on drugs continues, Johnson County Chief Deputy Kevin Pelphrey says, “it is a neverending battle,” school officials are just as determined to not let any student fall through the cracks.

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