Training Aimed at Professionals Who Work with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

To answer the rising trend of more grandparents taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren, Grand Rapids Community College plans to host a free training session to educate professionals in West Michigan who may work closely with these individuals.     

The training session targets both k-12 educational system professionals and aging service provider networks that may be working closely with grandparents or their grandchildren.  It will help educate professionals on the current needs, issues and community resources available to both populations.

Research indicates the number of grandparents in this role is rising steadily. According to a report by AARP more than six million children - approximately 1 in 12 - are living in households headed by grandparents and 2.4 million grandparents have taken on primary responsibility for their grandchildren's basic needs - without the parent of the child in the home.  AARP, in 2006, found that in Michigan, there are 143,523 children living in grandparent-headed households (5.5 % of all children in the state).  Additionally, 70,044 grandparents in Michigan report they are responsible for their grandchildren living with them, of which 33% are without the children’s parents present.

The Regional Professional Forum & Luncheon on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren will take place on Friday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on GRCC’s Devos Campus. Nationally recognized Gerontologist and Author Dr. Henry Holstege will give the keynote address.  Holstege has written several books on aging including, Growing Older in America and Trading Places: Caring for Elderly Parents.

Program Agenda:

  • 11:00 to 11:15 - Welcome & Introductions
  • 11:15 to 11:45 - Keynote Address by Dr. Henry Holstege
  • 11:45 to 12:30 - Lunch with Video Presentation & Discussion
  • 12:30 to 1:30  -   Grandparent Support Group Facilitator & Participant Panel Discussion
  • 1:30 to 2:00   -    Wrap Up & Evaluation

Register by calling (616) 234-3400 or visit  and click on the Older Learner Center.   This program is funded by the Older American’s Act Title IIIE and administered by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. Donations are welcome and allow for continued and expanded services to grandparents in Western Michigan.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.