Sara Story, Denton Reporter
Project C.O.P.E. aims to give grandparents a support group.
The number of grandparents raising their grandchildren is on the rise, and there's some important research being done on this trend in North Texas called Project Cope.
Annabel Baird said her empty nest was shaken when she took custody of her granddaughter.
"We had four months before we became parents again. It's like being bungee corded," Baird said.
She was quick to fill the role of mother and grandmother but admits the job is conflicting.
"On one side, I cannot imagine my life without Katie. But, I could put my fist through the wall. I'm so angry at what was done to her and what was done to our lives," Baird said.
Baird and her granddaughter have adjusted to life together and realized they're not alone. Dr. Bert Hayslip is a psychologist at The University of North Texas and said the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren has increased significantly in the past decade.
"Particularly in the last two or three years with the recession," Hayslip said.
He's working with families like Baird's to find ways to deal with their situations. Project Cope is the name of his study, and it's being done across the nation.
"Grandparents often feel very powerless in dealing with these issues that when raising their children, they never had to deal with," Hayslip said.
Hayslip said the project not only teaches parenting skills, but it gives grandparents a support group and erases the isolation many feel.
"Just to be in a room with other people that are doing the same thing, it just gives me a lift. I come out feeling better. I come out feeling not alone," Baird said.
Baird is hopeful this program will make the gap just a little smaller between her granddaughter and herself.
Project cope is looking for more participants, so if you want to get involved, contact Dr. Bert Hayslip at 940-565-2675.