News and EventsThursday, November 20, 2014
Kinship programs offer support to grandparents raising grandchildren
Grandparents across the country are becoming parents again.
According to a report issued in October by the US Census Bureau, about 3 percent of all US households include grandparents living in the same home as their grandchildren. We hear a lot about multi-generational households – specifically older adults living with and receiving care from their adult children. But there’s another type of multi-generational household – those in which the grandparent runs the household and has primary responsibility for the children who live there. This is often referred to as Kinship Care.
According to the census report:
In Ohio, 217,143 grandparents share a home with their grandchildren (3.2 percent of Ohio households) and just over 48 percent of these grandparents have responsibility for their grandchildren. Among grandparents who are responsible for grandchildren in the same household, one out of every five live in poverty.
According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Kinship Care refers to an arrangement in which a relative (or any non-relative) adult who has a long-standing relationship or bond with the child and/or family, has taken over the care of a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. In many cases, grandparents – even great-grandparents – fill this role.
While the responsibility of raising a grandchild can be rewarding, it can also be challenging – especially for an older adult who also may be caring for an aging spouse or managing their own health problems. Fortunately, a growing number of resources are available for grandparents and other older adults who find themselves in this situation – everything from health insurance coverage for the children they care for, to legal help and financial assistance for providing kinship care.
But where can kinship caregivers turn for help in finding and connecting to these resources? The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services publishes a Resource Guide for Relatives Caring for Children (updated June 2014).
Topics covered in the guide include:
Additionally, the guide’s appendix includes blank copies of important documents including Power of Attorney and the Caretaker Authorization Affidavit.
Many Ohio counties offer Kinship Care or Kinship Navigator services. Programs vary by county but may include formal support groups and counseling, training for kinship caregivers, help with adoption or other legal services, connection to public assistance programs, and more.
For example, Butler County’s Kinship Navigator Program helps kinship caregivers determine their eligibility for financial assistance and healthcare coverage for the children in their care, as well as other assistance programs, including help with clothing, connections to social services, newsletters, support groups, infant massage classes, and advocacy at Pre-trial for custody.
If you or someone you know is a grandparent raising a grandchild(ren) or other kinship caregiver, try the following resources.