Springfield, Mo. --In Missouri alone, there are over 50,000 grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren for various reason. Locally, there are many grandmothers and grandfathers who have taken on the parenting role that feel they don't have enough support or resources.
Kimberly Shook, is one of these grandparents. She not only is raising two of her grandchildren, but she has also created a community for other grandparents like her.
It was a terrible car accident that landed her grand-kids in her care. Shook says her daughter was driving her car with her two young children, when she lost control. Her granddaughter was severely injured due to not being in her car seat, and that's when child services stepped in. They said her grand-kids would be put in the system if she didn't take them in.
"I wasn't going to let them go into the foster care system, so they gave us emergency placement. It took us a couple years, but we got a lawyer and got guardianship and we've had them ever since," said Kimberly Shook.
After being thrown into her new role, Shook was overwhelmed, and finding little to no resources for grandparents in her position, she decided to make a change.
"I felt like I was alone. I started looking for support groups, and I couldn't find one," said Shook. "So, my husband told me to start one."
Her support group which is now a Facebook page with nearly 400 members, highlights just how many grandparents in the Ozarks alone that are in the same situation. Shook says while more needs to be done to help people like her on both a financial and resource level, nothing could stop her from giving her grand-kids the best life possible.
"I wouldn't have it any other way. They're my life," said Shook.
If you are a grandparent that has taken on the unexpected role of parenting and are now raising your grandchildren, Shook says you can join their Facebook group where there is not only support, but also licensed counselors and legal professionals that can help answer your questions. Click here to be redirected to that Facebook page.