April 2002Vol. 3, No. 3Kinship Caregiver Programs
According to analyses of the 1997 National Survey of America's Families (NSAF), there are 1.8 million children in kinship care. Nearly three-fourths (1.3 million) of these children lived with relatives privately—without involvement of the child welfare system—while a half a million children were removed from their parents by a public welfare agency and placed in kinship care because of abuse and/or neglect. The study also found that 20 percent of children in kinship care live in precarious socioeconomic conditions and that despite their eligibility, relatively few children in kinship care receive benefits and services to which they are entitled.
Kinship caregivers are getting more attention and numerous programs are working to offer support and services to children in kinship care and their families, but more remains to be done to reach those who need such services.
In California, San Mateo County' (www.smchsa.org/smc/department/home/0,,15584775_18137716_20770891,00.html) is offering relative caregivers a variety of services to assist them in raising the children in their care. The program offers parenting help, peer mentoring, support services, and youth services for elders raising their relatives' children.
The Grandparent Caregiver Law Center, at the Brookdale Center on Aging in New York City, was created to address the financial and legal issues faced by grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren.
The Grandparent Information Center (http://www.aarp.org/life/grandparents/), part of the website for the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), provides grandparents raising grandchildren with a variety of information including fact sheets, a newsletter, legal referrals, and information and referrals to local support groups.
For other examples of kinship care programs, search the documents database on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website (http://basis.caliber.com/cwig/ws/library/docs/gateway/SearchForm).
Visit the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (http://naic.acf.hhs.gov) for the following related items:
- Kinship Care factsheet (new title is Keeping the Family Tree Intact Through Kinship Care)
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Resources