PHILADELPHIA, March 13, 2013 — While every family is unique, the number of children being raised by a grandparent or other older relative continues to grow and change the contours of households across the nation, including here.

According to the AARP, more than 7 million U.S. children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the householders. In Pennsylvania, more than 81,000 children live in homes where grandparents are responsible for them.

“I admire these special families, who are selflessly taking on a monumental task to raise a child or multiple children. But I also recognize that kinship caregiver families need access to specific resources,” said state Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Phila./Delaware). “It’s important that they realize that they are not alone and that there are programs, services and information available to help them.”

Williams, in partnership with the Philadelphia Kinship Care Committee, Gateway Health Plan, and the Philadelphia School District, invite the public to the 2013 Helping Hands Kinship Care Conference.

This free event, taking place on Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West Philadelphia High School, 49th and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia, is open to grandparents and other relatives who are raising children.

“This conference will serve as an important outlet for this increasing population of kinship caregivers by providing helpful information and solutions to resolve their concerns,” Williams said. “The ultimate goal is to help these families continue to have a peaceful, happy household where the children thrive.”

The keynote speaker is Nikki Johnson-Huston, a successful tax attorney who will share lessons she learned being raised by her grandmother and overcoming both poverty and homelessness.

There will be workshops on issues relevant to participants and their families, including topics on custody and the law, family dynamics of kinship care and behavioral health resources, as well as a panel presentation moderated by radio personality Barbara Grant and featuring dignitaries from the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Family Court, and Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health.

A complimentary lunch will be served to those who register, along with a resource and information pavilion.

The event is accessible from SEPTA via bus routes 21, 31, and 400 and the 52nd Street stop on the Market-Frankford line. Street parking and limited lot parking is available on 50th Street.

Space is limited. To register, contact Brenda Rich at (215) 875-4955 or Registrants will be asked to provide their name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and relationship to the child they are raising.

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