The government shutdown prevented around 90 Alachua county foster grandparents from continuing to participate in the Foster Grandparents Program.
Minnie Rolark, interim director of community support services, said citizens age 55 and over received $2.65 per hour to care for foster children in the area. Congress kept this stipend from affecting Social Security benefits.
The program was federally funded by a $374,670 grant from the Corporation of National Services. With the government shutdown, the program has lost this money, and the foster grandparents now have to try to live on their low fixed income and/or small social security checks.
Not only will their income diminish, but they also will no longer be able to help special needs children. The grandparents help children develop math, reading and social skills.
Rolark said she hopes the government shutdown will end quickly so program participants can get back to working with special needs kids.