CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The 20th annual Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children Conference took place at the American Bank Center today.
Every year an increasing number of older caregivers step up to help raise younger relatives.
There are over 1,100 children in the Texas living with a family member, and several of those caregivers include grandparents.
"I'm doing a little bit more better for (my kids') kids," said Jesusa Hinojosa in tears. "It brought some tears to me because it happens. My kids were trying to be their best, and are still trying to get there."
That's why local organizations gather each year to provide them resources to make raising these children a little easier.
"Sometimes we don't do what we want to do because we have to take care of them," said Raul DeLeon, who is raising his grandchildren. "My wife and I are raising two grandkids, and we've been doing it for 18 years."
"They're wanting to help their families when situations get tough," said conference volunteer Marisol Gomez. "Whether that's because parents have substance-abuse issues ... mental-health (issues)."
This event has been going on for 20 years, and every year it continues to grow. This year, over 400 are in attendance. Nearly 170 children in Corpus Christi have been removed from their homes through Child Protective Services and are living with a relative.
"As grandparents, we started with three cribs," said Lida Encinia. "Now we're up to three twin beds."
If you are a grandparent or a relative taking care of a child family member, all of these organizations are here to help:
▪ Area Agency on Aging of the Coastal Bend and Aging and Disability Resource Center
▪ Arms Wide Adoption Services, Brush Country Co-Op
▪ City of Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department
▪ Corpus Christi Independent School District
▪ Driscoll Children’s Hospital-Injury Prevention
▪ Education Service Center- Region 2
▪ Mayor’s Council on Aging
▪ Methodist Children’s Home Family Outreach
▪ Nueces County Community Action Agency Birth–to-Five/Head Start
▪ Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
▪ Texas Department of Family & Protective Services Child Protective Services Division
▪ Texas Health and Human Services Commission
▪ The Success By 6 Early Childhood Coalition of the United Way of the Coastal Bend.