The gift of raising a child will always be a blessing. There is nothing quite like experiencing the purity of the world through a child’s perspective. Or embracing those beautiful moments when you hear them laugh. It’s easy to look at them and want to give them the best world you can provide. But – that requires resources, sometimes more than some currently have.
In June 2019, Kimberly Dovers and her husband, became custodial grandparents of their grandson Jack. Due to his special needs and various other factors, his parents were unable to care for him. Kim, 46-years-old, is a McMinn County native. However, with the added care of Jack, Kimberly and her family relocated to Blount County when her husband was able to find a better job in Maryville. It had become increasingly hard for them to find affordable housing in McMinn.
In addition to the lack of affordable housing, Kimberly had a history of multiple serious health issues, including benign lung tumors, COPD and emphysema, kidney disease, and ocular aneurysms— which required surgery. Kim has also had several mild transient ischemic attacks (TIA - small strokes) and battles early, on-set dementia.
With so much working against them already, they knew they would need help after learning they would become custodial grandparents to Jack. Although there is no question of their love for Jack, it was hard to imagine how they would stay afloat when they were already struggling to get by. Enter C.H.A.P. Our Columbus Home Assisting Parents (C.H.A.P.) program is a home-based support service that provides education, crisis intervention and case management for families whose parenting abilities are being impacted by other life stressors. Kim was a perfect candidate!
She contacted our C.H.A.P. program after being told of our services by her grandson’s early interventionist. Jack, then 14 months old, has developmental delays due to drug exposure in utero.
Initially, Kim came to C.H.A.P. hoping to learn about local resources available to help with rent and utility bills. She also needed assistance with transportation, finding healthcare providers and thrift stores that carried a variety of clothing and shoes for Jack.
After doing a house a visit, C.H.A.P. was able to provide Kim with connections to local agencies she could receive help from as well as a wealth of knowledge on caring for Jack with his specific needs. With so many resources now, Kim put together her own resource notebook to reference when she needed!
Still, with the weight of past due bills hovering, Kim needed financial help to stay afloat. As a part of our C.H.A.P. program, we can make emergency payments for clients if their quality of life will be impacted detrimentally. After Kim received threats to terminate service, C.H.A.P. made a utility payment to help Kim catch up on other bills. Since then, Kim has also been receiving resource and financial management information.
With more financial independence and an abundance of resources to help her care for Jack, Kim is now able to focus on finer details that will improve their quality of life in caring for their grandson. Child proofing and home safety, stress management, and long-term plans for Jack’s care in the event of a serious medical emergency are the primary goals for the family. Kim has arranged for her niece to reside in their home full-time, in the case Kim cannot continue caring for Jack.
“C.H.A.P. is the only service that has come into my home, even during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Kim. Growing public safety concerns have exacerbated her feelings of isolation. “I’m always so excited for their weekly visits. I appreciate them so much,” she said.
Our C.H.A.P. program makes a point to travel to their clients, which often relieves the stress of arranging their own transportation. We’re one of the only area programs to continue visiting clients through the pandemic.
Kim said, “I pray every day for the strength to take care of Jack. I just want to see him grow up healthy and happy! Because of C.H.A.P. I feel more hopeful that I can continue to be his caregiver.”
Jack, now 16 months old, is a happy and thriving toddler!
We all know it takes a village to raise a child, and for individuals like Kim – C.H.A.P. is her village. If you know someone who is struggling with the transition into parenthood, at any stage in life, refer them to our C.H.A.P. program. We’re here to help them and many others like Kim.