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New Help Available For Relatives Raising Children of Substance Abusers

The creation of the new Sheriff Interaction Groups provides opportunities for building a higher level of trust between the police and the community. Residents will be given the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding police, policies and procedures. SIG meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Aldine Sheriff Storefront.

The Children of Alcoholics Foundation (COAF) announced today that it will introduce “The Ties That Bind,” a new national education and support program to help the millions of Americans who are caring for relatives’ children because of parental alcohol and drug abuse.

“Today, more and more relatives are stepping in when parents’ drug or alcohol use has left them unable to care for their own children,” said Kiki Samuels, Kinship Care Project Director. “Whether the addicted parent has died, gone into treatment, been arrested, or lost custody of the child, grandparents and other relatives are faced with a profound lack of information and services that can help the whole family deal with their new and unexpected living situation.”

“The Ties That Bind” program comes at a time when the number of grandparent- headed households has soared, The number of grandparents raising grandchildren increased by 30% in the past decade, with 6% of U.S. children under 18 (3.9 million) now living in grandparent-headed households, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Though kinship care has always existed, substance abuse is now the leading cause.

“The stigma that exists around drug abuse is enormous. As a result, many caregivers do not tell their friends, neighbors, or even the agencies that can help them. This means that many of these families remain unidentified and lack vital services,” Samuels said.

“The Ties That Bind” offers fact sheets, a comprehensive handbook, and a website (www.caof.org) In addition, COAF provides training to professionals working with kinship care families, such as government agencies, social workers, child-welfare workers, and support-group leaders. These training sessions are designed to educate professionals about the special issues involved in kinship care that directly result from parental substance abuse, as Well as tips and strategies for getting the materials into the hands of those in need.

Individuals who are interested in a free handbook may e-mail Samuels at ksamuelsphoenixhouse.org or call at 212-595-5810 ext. 7763 (limited number available). Individuals interested in receiving a free fact sheet should send a self-addressed envelope to: Kiki Samuels, Children of Alcoholics Foundation, 164 West 74th Street, NY, NY 10023.

COAF, an affiliate of Phoenix House, has been providing help to young and adult children of alcoholics and other substance abusers since 1982. Phoenix House is the nation’s leading, private, non-profit substance-abuse treatment, prevention, and education organization.

Each day, Phoenix House provides substance abuse treatment to more than 5,000 adults and adolescents in eight states, including California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont.