Carbon County officials are looking for input on a new support group that will soon be available to people who are raising their grandchildren.

Jeanne Miller, co-chairperson of the Carbob County Child and Family Collaborative, said recently that many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren need help with finding what programs and options available to them and their families. A support group may help bring light to these services; as well as provide outlets to learn from others raising their grandchildren.

"The role of the collaborative has been to look at community needs in order to close the gaps in programs and services for residents in Carbon County," Miller said. "Creating a group to support grandparents fulfills a community need and will help to strengthen children and families."

Currently, the group is exploring the time of day; what topics of interest the group will cover and a core group who will organize the support groups. A planning group meeting will then be scheduled at Lehigh Carbon Community College's Carbon campus at a later time.

The collaborative asks interested people to contact Miller at (610) 799-1972 with the best time of day for the meetings and what topics you would like covered.

The trend of grandparents acting in the parental role has been on the rise since the 1990s.

According to AARP's 2010 GrandFacts State Fact Sheet, there are 239,819 children under the age of 18 living in homes where the householders are grandparents or other relatives. This represents 8.6 percent of children in Pennsylvania.

Of that total, 6.9 percent live with grandparents; while the remaining 1.7 percent live with other relatives.

Due to this growing trend, 68 percent of these grandparents raising children are under the age of 60; and 19 percent are living at 100 percent poverty level.