Nicole Washington, case manager at MCH Family Outreach in Houston, shared her experience in working with grandparents at a recent convention in Stafford, Texas. The Children’s Case Management Coalition (CCMC) hosted its 8th annual conference on February 24 at the Stafford Centre.
Washington was invited to speak at the conference after meeting several coalition members during an interagency meeting. The CCMC is “a collaborative group of case management providers in Houston and surrounding counties, who are invested in the special needs and issues of children and their families.” Every year the coalition hosts a conference for the community where social workers, nurses, nutritionists, parents and other professionals learn more about issues and services available for families and children.
Washington presented to the group to provide insight on what grandparents feel, think and struggle with when they are called to care for their grandchildren.
“Over the past seven years I have worked with grandparents in the Grandparents As Parents Program (GAPP) and one thing remains consistent – they give all they have while caring for their grandchildren,” Washington said. “They know it comes with a price, themselves, and they have no problem giving their all. However, the entire family suffers when the price depletes the one who holds it all together. I constantly remind my clients, ‘if you don’t take care of yourself then you are not taking care of the kids. You are your best advocate, so care and advocate for yourself.’”
Around 150 people attended the event to hear about topics related to the conference theme “Trauma-Informed Care: Recognizing and Responding to the Effects of Trauma in the Family.” Washington said the experience of presenting to her peers was enlightening, and she enjoyed speaking up for grandparents.
“I love my GAPP grandparents,” Washington said. “They truly inspire me. I am so honored to work with them.”