Millions of children wake up every day without a family to call their own.
We know that around the world, children growing up in institutional care are deprived of the opportunity to attach to a consistent caregiver. If nothing is done, these children are at risk for lifelong attachment issues, behavioral challenges, learning and developmental delays, and mental health issues.
Spence-Chapin established The Granny Program in recognition of how critical physical and emotional contact are during a child’s early stages of development. The program brings volunteers from the community into children’s institutions to devote time and attention to the same children each day. These little ones quickly begin to thrive thanks to the one-on-one attachment that children living in institutions usually do not experience.
The Granny Program is a simple, direct, and cost-effective way to forever change the lives of children in institutions around the world with proven results. The sheer fact a child now has a trusted adult and attachment figure leads to startling improvements in development and attachment. Children who could not sit on their own are soon rolling over and crawling. Little ones who were previously withdrawn emotionally now raise their arms to be picked up when their Grannies arrive for the day!
The Granny Program has helped hundreds of children in 7 countries on 4 continents for 18 years. Beginning in 1998 in Varna, Bulgaria, the program has helped children in China, Colombia, South Africa, Moldova, and soon in New York!
Spence-Chapin is delighted to announce the beginning of our first American Granny Program at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, New York, where most residents require total care to help them interact with the world around them. The Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center serves 137 of New York State’s most medically complex children, providing specialized clinical and rehabilitative services. Central to the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center’s approach to care is the belief that children should be able to live in an environment that approximates a home-like setting, with elements of a neighborhood community. What is more like a neighborhood than the opportunity to develop a special relationship with a caring local grandparent? Each Granny or Grandpa from Spence-Chapin will be paired with one child at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, providing regular companionship, interaction and socialization thus enhancing the child’s quality of life.