Be Organized

Make a separate folder for each child. Write the child’s date of birth, Social Security number, health care information and important telephone numbers on the inside of the folder. Be advised this information is considered confidential and needs to be stored appropriately. Use this folder to store all your notes and records about the child. Include, for example, last known addresses of the child’s parents.

Do Your Homework

Find out as much information about an agency as possible. Learn what services the agency provides, how to apply for services, and what information and documents will be needed. Learn who is in charge of the services you need. 

Make a written agenda of your questions and what you want to learn. Review the list just before you talk with the person. Write down all the answers and check off each item as you go.

Be Persistent

There are no wrong doors. If you call an agency that doesn’t offer what you are looking for or what you need, this is your opportunity to ask for referrals.

Keep notes and documents of who you talked to and what they told you to do next.

Request the names and phone numbers of other organizations that may help. If you call a referral and find out it’s no longer there, simply ask if there is a replacement. Be persistent; don’t give up!

If you are no satisfied with the progress you are making, ask to speak to a supervisor. Document that your efforts to go through the proper channels have been unsuccessful.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Family, friends, neighbors, church members, etc. can be powerful sources of support. If they are not able to help, they may know someone who can. Make contact with others via support groups or contact us here at Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of NEPA.

Keep Your Own Records

Although agencies are required to keep records, you should keep your own copies.

Keep records of the dates and times you make phone calls. Note if the line is constantly busy, if no one answers, or when you leave a message and no one returns your calls.

Take notes of phone conversations and appointments. Get names, titles, agency names and phone numbers of everyone. Ask for business cards.

Write down your own thoughts and questions to ask when it is your turn to talk. After the conversation has ended, immediately review your notes for understanding and confirm with the person what each of you will do.