MONROE/ORLEANS COUNTY N.Y. – At home in the village of Holley, not a single day goes by that Tammi Bale can forget the night she lost her son.

“March 10th, 2016 I got a phone call about 11 o'clock at night—actually a text saying call me, Bob is dead," she said.

Her son, Robert Bale, was only 28 when he died of a heroin overdose — one of close to 130 men county officials say were killed by the drug in 2016.

“He hid it well; he hid it from all his friends,” she added.

Bale says her daughter got involved with drugs, too, and was in a dangerous situation. As a result, Bale felt obligated to take sole custody of her grandchildren.

“There was a shooting in Rochester and I went and got my grandchildren because they were in custody and I brought them here," she said. "That was eight years ago.”

In Rochester, Linda James, another grandmother, shares a similar story about her oldest daughter, Katrina Myers.

Katrina came from Washington D.C. to Upstate New York only to return to D.C. after six months.

“I thought if I brought her here to Rochester to get away from that situation that she would do well," said James. "In 1991, she was found in an abandoned field, her body was decomposed. She had been strangled with a bag.”

James, too, was faced with the decision to take in her grandchildren. The options were “guardianship or either custody, so that I can keep them.”

Bale and James are far from alone. According to a national database, New York State has an estimated 312,663 kids now living with grandparents. Experts have a term for these kinds of living situations: grandfamilies.

For both women, the most important thing of all is keeping their families together.





Catholic Family Center- KIN Program

87 N. Clinton Ave

Rochester, NY 14604

(585) 546-7220 x4818

It can be overwhelming to help raise the child of a family member when the parent(s) cannot. Grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles often become the non-parent caregivers for the children of a family member when the parent(s) is unable to raise them.

Catholic Family Center is here to help you with this important responsibility.

Catholic Family Center Staff can:

-          Meet you in your home.

-          Provide you with referrals and connect you to services and resources.

Skip Generations Grandparents Who Are Raising Grandchildren Group

Southwest Family Resource Center

89 Genesee St.

Rochester, NY 14611

An educational support group for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

The group is run on: Tuesdays, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM & Thursdays 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. For more information, contact Linda James at (585) 436-0370 Ext. 302, or by email at

-          Sponsored by: Family Resource Centers of Crestwood Children's Center

Grandparents for Grandparents Support Group

Henrietta Town Hall: Main Meeting Room

475 Calkins Rd

Henrietta, NY 14467

Support group meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month, starting May 27th. Childcare provided in meeting room A. Time is 6:30pm-8:00pm. For more information, call Anita at Henrietta Recreation Department & Youth Bureau (585) 359-2540. Snacks provided.

Southwest Family Resource Center

89 Genesee St.

Rochester, NY 14611

April Baker, Program Coordinator

Mary Jo Brach, Service Director

(585) 436-0370

Full-day Pre-K; parenting classes; Baby Love; Skip Generations Grandparents who are Raising Grandchildren support group.

Peter Castle Family Resource Center

555 Ave D

Rochester, NY 14621

Linda James, Coordinator

Mary Jo Brach, Service Director

(585) 339-3200

Early child classrooms (ages 2-3), Tuesday and Wednesday; Pre-K, M – F, 9:00am – 3:00pm; parenting classes; Baby Love – teaches development skills; offer Spanish-language services