December 1, 2017
GHP PROGRAM PROFILE: Meet Bernice & Alfred Coney.
Any given morning 81-year-old Alfred Coney can be found working in his garden while his wife, Bernice keeps herself busy canning food. But while the Coney’s were enjoying retirement, they realized their granddaughter was in trouble. Not too far away, their 8-year-old, Brittany, was existing in what the Coney’s say was unhealthy conditions.
“We didn’t live far from her and we helped as much as we could, but it got to the point where she wasn’t going to school.”
The couple felt they had no choice but to call Child Protective Services on their own son.
“He was strung out on drugs and then eventually incarcerated. It hurt more than anything else. We raised our children right, we took them to church, they were involved in activities at school and our son even graduated from college. We’ve asked ourselves why this happened?”
Brittany was placed in the Coney’s care after their son went to jail. Shortly after, they heard about Genesee Health Plan through a neighbor who was also raising a granddaughter. It was then the couple connected with Cindy Zedo, GHP’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Coordinator.
Cindy went to the Coney’s home and completed an assessment to identify what their needs were.
“Any time I need something or can’t figure something out, I call Cindy. I recently attended an event catered toward Grandparents at a local church after Cindy encouraged me to. She personally called me and I’m so glad she did. I learned so much and how we are not alone, there are so many resources out there.”
Since the Coney’s connected with GHP, Brittany has been able to receive dental work, vision care and recently got her flu shot. She’s also being tested for lead due to the Flint Water Crisis.
The Coney’s aren’t sure whether they will pursue legal guardianship of Brittany but say for now, they’re adjusting to their new lives.
“We can’t afford to let her go into the system. We are old but we do the best we can. She likes living with us. She loves people and loves going to school. She needed us and we needed Genesee Health Plan and it was there for us. If my husband and I need something else, I know all we have to do is call.”
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