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Title: Providing Effective Services to Grandparent-Headed Families in the United States


1
Providing Effective Services to
Grandparent-Headed Families in the United States
  • October 17, 2013
  • Dr. Andrea B. Smith
  • Western Michigan University

2
Foster Care and Kinship Care in the U.S.
  • Foster Care and Kinship (Relative) Care are not
    the same
  • Foster Care is a formalized relationship
  • Foster Care services are administered by each
    state
  • Legal steps are taken to place and/or keep
    children in a foster care setting after the
    courts have determined that the childs home
    environment is unsafe
  • Kinship Care may be a formal or an informal
    relationship
  • The informal/formal nature of the relationship
    may change over time

3
Foster Care and Kinship Care in the U.S.
  • Foster Care is intended to be a temporary
    situation
  • Despite improved care, many children still stay
    too long in the foster care system and are often
    moved among various settings
  • 408,425 children were placed foster care settings
    (foster family homes, group homes, child care
    institutions) during Fiscal Year 2010 (Adoption
    and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System
    (AFCRAS)
  • This number represents a 26 decrease since 2000
    (AFCRAS)

4
Foster Care and Kinship Care in the U.S
  • 2008 LegislationFostering Connections to Success
    and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L. 110-151) is
    intended to achieve better outcomes for children
    who are at risk of entering or have spent time in
    foster care.
  • Improves educational and health care services for
    children and youth in foster care settings
  • Extends federal support for youth to age 21 (can
    lead to increased educational/vocational options)

5
Kinship Care Families in the United States
  • Kinship Care families fall into two general
    categories
  • Multi-generational households contain at least 3
    generations (grandparent, adult child,
    grandchildren
  • These households are often formed for financial
    reasons but also may arise due to divorce,
    adolescent parents, or a general desire of the
    grandparent to be of assistance to the family
  • Top reasons cited in 2010 were
  • unemployment/under employment
  • health care costs
  • home foreclosure

6
Kinship Care/Grandparent-Headed Families in the
United States
  • Skipped Generation Families include only
    grandparents and grandchildren residing in the
    same household
  • These families often arise due to
  • Parental substance abuse issues
  • Divorce or relationship break-up
  • Incarceration
  • Mental illness
  • Physical illness
  • Death of a parent
  • Military deployment
  • Neglect/abuse

7
Formation of the Grandparent-Grandchild Family
Structure
Parental Apprentice
Substantial Support
Parental Replacement
8
Formation of the Grandparent-Grandchild Family
Structure
The majority of grandparent-headed families fall
within the Parental Apprentice or Substantial
Support Categories Parental Replacement is less
common and typically occurs only after an
extended period of time
9
Kinship Care Families in the United States
  • 2010 Census Data show that 7.8 million children
    lived in a home headed by a grandparent or other
    relative
  • 2.7 million (about 4 of all American children)
    are being raised in grandparent or other
    relative-headed families
  • Children living in kinship care homes comprise
    about 25 of all children in the formalized
    foster care system
  • For every one child in foster care, 25 children
    are being raised in a kinship care home that
    falls outside the formalized foster care system
  • Grandparents, as opposed to other relatives, are
    overwhelmingly the main kinship care providers

10
Grandparent Headed Families in the United States
  • 60 of grandparents raising grandchildren are
    employed outside the home
  • 21 of custodial grandparents live below the
    federal poverty level
  • 67 are under the age of 60.
  • Median age ranges from 54-57 years

11
Grandparent-Headed Families in the United States
  • Numbers of Grandparent-Headed Families Vary by
    Ethnicity
  • There are more White Grandparent-Headed Families
    but proportionally children of color are more
    likely to live in a kinship care home
  • White 51
  • African American 24
  • Hispanic/Latino 18.7
  • Asian 2.9
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native 2
  • Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian 0.3

12
Length of Time Caring for Grandchildren
13
Challenges for Grandparents
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medical care
  • Lack of support
  • Negative feelings
  • Family dynamics
  • Employment issues
  • Conflicting roles
  • Financial Issues
  • School routines
  • Housing
  • Changes in parenting practices
  • Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Loss of grandparent role
  • Relationship to adult child

14
Strengths
  • Grandchildren are safe and nurtured
  • Family history
  • Intact sibling groups intact
  • Feeling needed and useful
  • Increased energy
  • Circumventing the court system
  • Provision of second chance
  • Love

15
Children in Grandparent-Headed Families
  • 1 of 7 children living in a grandparent-headed
    home has a documented disability, compared to 1
    of 16 in parent maintained homes
  • Approximately 34 of children in
    grandparent-headed homes are living with a
    caregiver who does not have a high school
    diploma, compared to 12 of children living in a
    parent-maintained home
  • This correlates with data showing that children
    living in poor families are more likely to have
    parents/caregivers with lower levels of education

16
Children in Grandparent-Headed Homes
  • Research shows that children living in custodial
    grandparent homes have increased levels of
    emotional and behavioral problems
  • Boys are more likely than girls to be recognized
    for emotional issues. Behaviors frequently
    include misconduct and acting out physically
    toward others.
  • Girls more frequently internalize emotional
    issues. Anxiety and depression are common.

17
Teens in Grandparent-Headed Homes
  • 42 of children in grandparent-headed families
    are between the ages of 12-17
  • Teens in the care of grandparents have increased
    academic, social and behavioral problems when
    compared to other teens
  • Aging grandparents often struggle with monitoring
    teens activities and setting and maintaining
    appropriate limits
  • Adolescents are struggling to establish their own
    identities parental absence may be keenly felt
    during this time and may lead to a variety of
    emotional and/or behavioral challenges

18
Young Children in Grandparent-Headed Homes
  • Young children (ages 2-6) often have difficulties
    in forming attachments, have low self-esteem,
    poor socialization skills and may have physical,
    cognitive or emotional impairments (Smith
    Dannison, 2008)
  • This may result from prenatal exposure to drugs
    and/or alcohol, from inconsistent and often
    chaotic early home environments, or from lack of
    exposure to a variety of stimulating early
    interactions

19
Emotional Themes in Children Living in
Grandparent-Headed Homes
  • Common emotional themes are seen in children of
    all ages who live in grandparent-headed homes.
    These include
  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Embarrassment
  • Anger

20
Grief and Loss
  • Loss of a parent
  • Loss of a grandparent
  • Additional losses may include
  • Loss of home
  • Loss of friends
  • Loss of school environment
  • Loss of routine

21
Fear
  • Inconsistency in early environment
  • Basic needs unmet
  • Inappropriate attachments
  • Lack of structure and predictability throughout
    life
  • Issues with trust
  • Difficulties with separation
  • Often need for individual attention

22
Guilt
  • Internalize parents desertion
  • Sense of betrayal
  • Low self-worth
  • Familiarity with failure/children may give up
  • Feelings of responsibility
  • May lead to difficulties (ie indebtedness,
    anger, indifference)in relationship with
    grandparent

23
Embarrassment
  • Sensitivity about living situation
  • Generation Gap issues
  • Unrealistic hopes for parental return
  • Low self esteem
  • Testing and acting out behaviors in home, school
    and other social settings
  • Children may work hard to fit in

24
Anger
  • No control over circumstances
  • Feelings of unworthiness
  • Many targets
  • Unpredictable episodes or episodes tied to
    specific triggers

25
Programming for Grandparent-Headed Families in
the U.S.
  • Great variety exists related to programs and
    services for grandparent-headed family members
  • These programs/services often vary in content,
    format, intensity, and duration
  • Geographic and ethnic diversity within the U.S.
    means that there is no one size fits all
    approach
  • Extremely important to recognize differences
    between communities and to build on existing
    programs and resources

26
Programming for Grandparent-Headed Families in
the U.S.
  • Highlight four diverse programs serving
    Grandparent-Headed Families
  • Second Time Around Services for Grandparents
    and Grandchildren, Western Michigan University,
    Kalamazoo, MI
  • Project Healthy GrandparentsGeorgia State
    University, Atlanta GA
  • Relatives as ParentsCornell University
    Cooperative Extension, Albany NY
  • Kinship Care ProgramJewish Board of Child and
    Family Services, Brooklyn NY

27
Second Time Around Meeting the Needs of
Custodial Grandparents
  • Respite
  • Parenting Skills and Knowledge
  • Community Connections
  • Support
  • Advocacy
  • Evaluation

28
Second Time Around Building a Grandparent Program
  • Funding obtained/budget
  • Open houses/personal contact
  • Location, dates, times
  • Services offered
  • Marketing and recruitment
  • Transportation
  • Child Care
  • Incentives

29
Organizing Support Groups
  • Adult Education content
  • Relevant topics
  • Personal Sharing
  • Selected Activities
  • Guest Speakers
  • Information on available services/resources
  • Food/incentives

30
Second Time Around Lessons Learned About
Facilitators
  • Someone with whom the group identifies
  • Must be heavily invested
  • Resolves group behaviors
  • Flexible
  • Builds positive relationships
  • Co-facilitators helpful

31
Second Time Around Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren
  • Session Topics
  • Understanding Your Not So New Role
  • Promoting Personal Well Being
  • Refining Parenting Skills
  • Building Relationships
  • Working With School and Community
  • Managing Finances
  • Navigating the Legal System
  • Looking to the Future

32
Second Time Around Grand Ideas for Grand Kids
  • Structured play interactions
  • Modeling social skills
  • One-on-one attention (adult/child ratio)
  • Physical proximity
  • Immediate and consistent feedback
  • Small group size
  • Routine
  • Exposure to developmentally appropriate
    activities

33
Second Time Around Grand Ideas for Grand
Kids--Session Topics
  • Enhancing Self Esteem
  • Appreciating Family Diversity
  • Enhancing Friendships
  • Appropriately Recognizing and Expressing
    Feelings
  • Grief, fear, guilt, embarrassment, anger

34
PROGRAM MODEL FOR GRANDPARENT RESOURCES SITES
Kellogg Foundation
Western Michigan University
Agency Partner
Local Advisory Committee
In-service Education for Professionals
Grand- children Groups
Grandparent Support Groups
Year 1
Childcare Providers Training
In-Home Services
Continuation Groups
Year 2
Contemporary Grandparent Workshops
School Readiness Mentors
Year 3
Comprehensive Grandparent Centers
Year 4
Required Activities Program Choices
Year 5 Continuation of services
and evaluation
35
Grandparent Resource Site Locations
Kalamazoo, MI Kendallville, IN Detroit Lakes,
MN Mansfield, OH Washington, DC Winchester,
TN Ocala, FL Nice, CA Flagstaff, AZ
36
Campora Family Resource CenterWinchester, TN
  • Rural siteconservation Bible-Belt location
  • Housed in adult education center
  • Large group (40-50 members)/strong cohesion
  • Members frequently drove long distances (30-40
    miles) to attend group sessions
  • Service oriented
  • Scholarships
  • Food pantry

37
University of DCExtensionWashington DC
  • Largest urban extension site in U.S.
  • No prior history of service provision to kinship
    care family memberswere quick to recruit and
    begin services
  • Located sites convenient to metro-stops
  • Relationship buildingsocial isolation was common
  • Within own group
  • External to group (ie exchange with Philadelphia
    and Baltimore groups)
  • Emphasis on advocacy/connections

38
Robinson RancheriaNice, CA
  • Located on a rural Native American Indian
    Reservation/supported in part by on-site casino
  • Kinship care is culturally valued
  • On-site child care center
  • Challenges with isolation, transportation,
    finances, and substance abuse
  • Focus on respiteinfrequent time away
  • Bingo
  • Field trips

39
Kids Central, Inc.Ocala, Florida
  • 3 county district Human Services site
  • Largest numbers of kinship care families
  • Initiated part time employment of grandparent
    participants as group leaders/office
    workers/leadership from within
  • Initiated annual state-wide conference (2 days)
    on kinship care
  • Nationally recognized speakers
  • Attended by both professionals and kinship care
    providers
  • Diverse service delivery
  • Schools
  • Public libraries

40
Mahube Community CouncilDetroit Lakes, Minnesota
  • Served grandparents/grandchildren in 7 locations
    within a large, rural area
  • Often involved facilitators traveling long
    distances to run groups
  • Worked to offset the challenges of long winters
    and geographic isolationgrandparents needed
    connections
  • Obtained additional grants to manage
  • higher costs of food, fuel, and travel

41
University of ArizonaExtensionFlagstaff, Arizona
  • Services offered within two adjacent counties
  • Very diverse grandparent populations
  • Worked to meet needs of both affluent and low
    socio-economic grandparent caregivers
  • Provided comprehensive trainings for grandparent
    group facilitators
  • Strong emphasis on continuation
  • groups

42
Michigan State University-ExtensionKalamazoo, MI
  • Worked extensively with Advisory Committee to
    assess community needs and existing services
  • Incorporated a Family Law attorney to provide pro
    bono legal services (identified as a high need
    area)
  • Initiated Spanish-speaking group
    (Migrant/agricultural workers)
  • Implemented in-home services--an
  • effective service delivery method for
  • their grandparent population (geographic/linguist
    ic isolation)

43
Northeast IN Grandparents Raising
GrandchildrenKendallville, IN
  • Partnership between faith community and local
    school district in rural, NW Indiana
  • No prior history of service provision to kinship
    care family members
  • Within 3 months, had team established and trained
  • Offered both Tier 1 and Tier 2 services within
    the first year of establishment
  • Merged with larger, regional group to
  • continue providing services to kinship care
  • family members

44
Lessons Learned Second Time Around Program
  • Recruiting grandparent participants may be
    difficult/time consuming
  • Using trusted professionals (teachers, day care
    providers, nurses, doctors, etc.) to help recruit
    participants is helpful
  • Think through details that will make it easy for
    grandparents and grandchildren to attend sessions
    (transportation, child care, meals, location,
    timing)
  • Provide opportunities for grandparents to connect
    with one another and to share their stories

45
Lessons Learned Second Time Around Program
  • Build structure and consistency into each group
    session
  • Provide time to provide grandparents with
    feedback about the grandchildrens session(s)
  • If appropriate, provide grandparents with
    resources (books, art materials, play
    materials/toys) to extend activities introduced
    in grandchildrens groups
  • Provide positive feedback to grandparents.
    Acknowledge the important role they are playing
    in their grandchild(ren)s live(s).

46
Project Healthy GrandparentAtlanta, GA
  • Affirm family and cultural strengths,
  • Enhance personal competencies through knowledge
    building and skill development,
  • Provide concrete supports as needed (food,
    clothing, furniture, toys, etc.),
  • Help families make necessary social connections,
  • Identify and use community resources to meet
    family needs,
  • Establish an evaluation strategy to inform
    practice.

47
PROJECT HEALTHY GRANDPARENTS
  • Goal -Empowerment
  • the process of increasing personal,
    interpersonal, or political power so that
    individuals, families and communities can take
    action to improve their situation.
  • (L. Gutierrez, 1994, pg. 202)

48
PHG Family Characteristics
  • Total Participants
  • Grandparents served 900
  • Grandchildren served 1,800
  • Race African American (99)
  • Average age of grandparents 54 years
  • (Range 33-77 years)
  • Average number of grandchildren per family
  • 2.5 (Range 1- 8)

49
PHG SERVICE STRUCTURE
  • Social Work Nursing Case Management
  • Individualized support
  • Acknowledge personal strengths
  • Home-based option
  • Support Group Meetings
  • Emphasize problem solving skills
  • Mutual aid and self-help
  • Provides setting for practicing new
  • behaviors

50
PHG SERVICE STRUCTURE
  • Parenting classes
  • Learn new parenting skills
  • Introduce new community resources
  • Emphasize positive functioning within family
    systems
  • Legal Referrals
  • Facilitate development of legal relationships
    with grandchildren
  • Establish permanency planning

51
PHG SERVICE STRUCTURE
  • Other Services/Activities
  • Transportation
  • Material Aid
  • Clothing
  • School Supplies
  • Furniture
  • Toys
  • Early Intervention Services

52
Relatives as Parents Program
  • Dual services to Grandparents and Grandchildren
    in a rural area of New York State
  • Grandparents initially attend informational group
    meetingsnumber of sessions varies according to
    topic area
  • Topics are varied, including
  • Getting Ready for the Teen Years (for
    grandparents of children ages 9-14)
  • Strengthening FamiliesA Joint Program for
    Grandparents and Grandchildren ages 10-14 years
  • Theyre Backor They Never Left (for grandparents
    of children ages 17 and older)

53
Relatives as Parents Program
  • Grandchildren (ages 9-17) are involved as members
    of their local 4H Club
  • Grandparents can participate in many of the
    family based activities
  • 4H started as an agriculturally-based
    organization but has expanded to include fine
    arts (music, dance, drawing, drama, etc.) as well
    as skills including cooking, photography,
    woodworking etc.)

54
Local 4H Activities
55
Local 4H Activities
56
Relatives as Parents Program
  • Grandchildren (ages 9-17) are involved as members
    of their local 4H Club

57
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58
Relatives as Caregivers Program
  • Grandchildren are also involved through the
    School Engagement Program
  • Focus in on helping grandchildren set goals for
    school achievement and on providing support to
    assist in achieving these goals
  • Grandchildren are assisted in recognizing that
    they are responsible for making changes related
    to academic work
  • Goals are reasonable and appropriate for each
    child

59
Kinship Care Program--JBCFS
  • Programming focuses on meeting the needs of
    approximately 78,000 children in the care of
    relatives in New York City
  • Focus is on promoting family stability through
  • Emotional support
  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Financial information

60
Kinship Care Program--JBCFS
  • All services are provided at no cost to
    participants
  • Services are delivered are several local
    community centers
  • In-home services are also available
  • Phone information is available during office
    hours
  • Referrals are made to link grandparents to
    existing services
  • Attention to paid to providing culturally-sensitiv
    e services (especially important due to the
    ethnic diversity present in NYC)
  • Support Groups and Phone Information Services are
    available in both Spanish and English

61
Kinship Care Program--JBCFS
  • Specific services offered include
  • Case management for financial and medical needs
  • Weekly support groups for caregivers and youth in
    care
  • Short-term parent and youth counseling
  • Parent education
  • Educational advocacy and activities supporting
    school engagement
  • Referral for legal assistance for permanency
    planning
  • Informational forums for caregivers and youth in
    care
  • Training for professionals

62
Kinship Care Program--JBCFS
  • Case management for
  • Weekly support groups for caregivers and youth
    in care
  • Short-term parent and youth counseling
  • Parent education
  • Educational advocacy and activities supporting
    school engagement
  • Referral for legal assistance for permanency
    planning
  • Informational forums for caregivers and youth
    in care
  • Training for professionals

63
Conclusions
  • There is no one best way to provide services to
    kinship care family members
  • Know your population/culture
  • Be aware of other existing services
  • Work closely with an advisory group
  • Assess/evaluate services frequently
  • Look to grandparents for leadership
  • Embrace flexibility

64
Bibliography
  • American Bar Association/Kinship Care Legal
    Research Center, 2010
  • AARP. Accessed at aarp.org/relationships/grandpar
    enting/info-12-2010.
  • Brookdale Foundation Grandfacts. Accessed at
    ww.brookdalefoundation.org/rapp/GrandFacts.
  • Dannison, L. Smith, A. (2003). Lessons
    learned from a custodial grandparent community
    support program. Children and Schools, 25(2),
    87-95.
  • Federal Poverty Guidelines, 2013. Accessed at
    https//www.federalregister.gov.
  • Hayslip, B Kaminski, P. (2005) "Grandparents
    Raising Their Grandchildren A Review of the
    Literature and Suggestions for Practice," The
    Gerontologist 45(2), 262-69.
  • Pew Research Center, "The Return of the
    Multigenerational Family Household" (March 2010),
    accessed at www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/03/18/the
    -return-of-the-multi-generational-family-household
  • Pittman, L. (2007) "Grandmothers' Involvement
    Among Young Adolescents Growing Up in Poverty,"
    Journal of Research on Adolescence 17(1), 89-116.
  • Pittman, L. Boswell, M. (2007) "The Role of
    Grandmothers in the Lives of Preschoolers Growing
    Up in Urban Poverty," Applied Developmental
    Science 11(1), 20-42.

65
Bibliography
  • Population Reference Bureau. Accessed at
    www.prb.org/Articles/2012/US.children.grandparents
  • Smith, A., Dannison, L. James, M. (2012).
    Resiliency and custodial grandparents
    Recognizing and supporting strengths. In Hayslip,
    B. Smith, G. (Eds.) Resilient grandparent
    caregivers A strengths perspective. New York
    Routledge.
  • Smith, A. Dannison, L. (2008). Preschool
    children and caregiving grandparents Enhancing
    family strengths. In Hayslip, B. Kaminski, T.
    (Eds), Parenting the custodial grandchild
    Implications for clinical practice. New York
    Springer, 237-250.
  • Smith, A. Dannison, L. (2003).
    Grandparent-headed families in the United States
    Programming to meet unique needs.
    Intergenerational Programming Quarterly,1(3),
    35-47.
  • Smith, A., Dannison, L. Vacha-Haase, T. (1999).
    When Grandma is Mom What todays teachers
    need to know. Childhood Education, 75, 12-16.
  • Smith, G. Palmieri, P. (2007) "Risk of
    Psychological Difficulties Among Children Raised
    by Custodial Grandparents," Psychiatric Services
    58(7) 130310.
  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey,
    2010 1-Year Estimates table S1001 and 2005
    table B10001, accessed at http//factfinder2.censu
    s.gov, on March 7, 2012.
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