If you are taking care of a relatives children, you will find answers to your questions about West Virginias custody and guardianship laws by attending one of six two hour seminars being offered at six sites statewide from February through April.

Each two hour session is designed to helpkincaregiversdecide what actions to take on their own, how to locate and hire a lawyer, and what government and nonprofit organizations are available to help them.

A lawyer and a West Virginia Child Protective Service worker will be available to answer participantsquestions.

The seminars will be held: 7 p.m., Feb. 26, First Presbyterian Church, Dunbar; 6 p.m., March 19, Trinity United Methodist Church, Martinsburg; 10 a.m. March 27, WVU Parkersburg; 10 a.m., April 3, Mountaineer Mall, Morgantown; and 6 p.m., April 6, Ohio County Library, Wheeling. A sixth seminar will be held in Huntington. A time, date and place will be announced later.

The seminars are sponsored by the West Virginia Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP) and funded by a grant from the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services. RAPP is a collaboration of the West Virginia University Extension Service, Mission West Virginia, Inc., and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. RAPP is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAdministration for Children and Families.

Manykincaregiversface obstacles that biological parents do not face such as the inability to place the children on their health insurance policies or to enroll the children in local schools. Somekincaregivershave opted to remain in theinformalsystem without a legal relationship such as legal custody or guardianship. Others have chosen to enter theformalsystem by becoming a foster parent or adopting the children. The needs of both groups will be addressed at the seminars.

For more information, contact Alice Ruhnke, Mission West Virginia, at 304-643 2164 or Carol Winland, WVU Extension Service, at 304-290 9317.