VICTORIA – Parenting is the most important, rewarding and challenging job that most adults will undertake in their lifetime.

Along with the joy of raising a child come times of stress and uncertainty. That stress and uncertainty can increase greatly when a grandparent or another relative has taken on the responsibility of raising a family member’s child. They may feel overwhelmed by their new parenting role. They may feel stressed about financial, emotional or legal concerns. They may have questions about where to get help when they need it.

That’s why the Ministry of Children and Family Development is investing $100,000 a year from the ministry’s existing fiscal plan for the Parent Support Services Society of B.C. to launch the new Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Line and email support.

The new line follows through on a request made in 2011 by Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. The grandparents support group asked the ministry for a new navigation and education service to provide help and information to grandparents or other relatives raising a family member’s child. Recognizing that not everyone is online, especially if they are a part of an older generation, a phone line was preferred.

Skilled and experienced advocates will staff the phone line and provide email support to help people understand their rights, obligations and options prior to and after assuming responsibility for raising a family member’s child. Staff will also ensure that callers are aware of all benefits, supports and resources available to them – and how to access them.

Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development said, “Relatives who are caregivers for a family member’s child come from all different walks of life, income levels and cultures. Although each family’s situation is unique, caregivers share the need for information, support, services and resources. This new phone line will provide instant help and valuable information to caring individuals who have opened their hearts and homes to a family member’s child.”