Resources for Supporting Kin and Grandparent Caregivers
As many children prepare to go back to school this fall, their caregivers may be navigating additional needs and expenses. The number of kin and grandparent caregivers is likely underreported, but according to the 2019 American Community Survey, 2,741,869 children were living with grandparents who were responsible for most of their basic needs.
Last year, the Administration for Community Living’s Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren delivered its initial report to Congress. The report provides 22 recommendations for how the federal government, states, tribes, territories, and communities can better support kin and grandparent caregivers. Five priority areas of the recommendations identified include:
- Awareness of/outreach to kin and grandparent caregivers.
- Kin and grandparent caregiver engagement.
- Services and supports for kinship families and grandfamilies.
- Financial and workplace security for kin and grandparent caregivers.
- Research, data, and evidence-supported practices.
The report also noted that legal recognition as a custodial guardian was identified as a critical need of kin and grandparent caregivers. Without this legal recognition, they may face “significant legal barriers to accessing financial assistance, enrolling children in school, advocating for educational services, or consenting to health care, including emergencies.”
Legal assistance and elder rights programs can play an important role in helping kin and grandparent caregivers understand and exercise their rights and advocate for a wide range of services. These resources provide legal and aging network professionals with an overview of legal issues surrounding non-parent caregivers, including tools and initiatives to support families: