The needs of children can seem overwhelming, especially if you are unexpectedly thrust into the role of being their primary caregiver.

Often these caregivers and the children they are raising feel isolated. They lack information about the range of support services, resources, programs, benefits, laws and policies available to help them successfully fulfill their caregiving obligation.

The Bluegrass Regional Grandparents As Parents Coalition will hold its 15th annual conference on Thursday, March 16 at the Clarion Hotel, 1950 Newtown Pike, Lexington. The agenda includes nine workshops with a focus on Refocus and Reconnecting, Navigating the Legal Path, Discipline and the Traumatized Child, Current

Drug Trends, Childhood Anxiety, Support Groups, Practical Application of Discipline for the Traumatized Child, Caretaking and Planning for Your Love One with Special Needs. This year’s conference keynote speaker, Joan Callander Dingle is a mom, grandmother and a great grandmother who adopted her grandson, Chad, who is now 24 years old.

For more than 20 years she has trained and spoken to, on both local and national levels, relative caregivers and those who support them. She is the author of two books, “Raising Children of Alcoholics and Drug Users” and “Second Time Around.”

In 2015 she spoke at a White House Briefing on needed changes in foster care and services for grandparents parenting grandchildren. She lives in Oregon where she writes a monthly “grandparent” column for the Portland Family Magazine.

In addition to the workshops, attendees can preregister for free legal consultation provided by local attorneys. In addition there will be options for individual benefits consults with corresponding agency representatives. The conference also includes all materials, a resource fair and lunch.

The registration fee is $5 for grandparents/relative caregivers and $50 for professionals (CEUs for social work, FRYSC, CLEs for law). Contact the Fayette County Extension Office, 859-257-5582, or visit for registration and program information.