Kinship Care Initiatives in
public and private agencies and grassroots coalitions of grandparents
and other relative caregivers have begun working together
to expand the services available to kinship caregivers who
are caring for children outside of the foster care system.
the major kinship care programs and supports are listed below.
Additional support groups can be found through the AARP Grandparent
Information Center Database. Call 1-800-424-3410, e-mail information
requests to email@example.com, or search AARP’s online kinship
care support group database at http://www.aarp.org/grandparents/searchsupport/.
Services for Kinship Care Families in Fulton and DeKalb Counties:
Georgia State University’s
Project Healthy Grandparents offers multiple services to enhance
the physical and emotional well-being of grandparents raising
grandchildren 16 years of age or younger. Services include
monthly home visits by a registered nurse and social worker,
monthly grandparent support groups, parent education classes,
transportation to meetings, a Saturday Youth Academy for grandchildren,
early intervention services, and legal services referrals.
All services are free. Contact: Judy Perdue at (404) 651-0341or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Project’s website at http://www.gsu.edu/hgrandpar
Family Career Services provides counseling, information
& referrals, and support group activities for grandparents
and other relatives raising children. Contact: Lynn
Mandelbaum at (770) 677-9300 or email@example.com.
Caregiver Program provides case management services, home
health care evaluations, information and referrals services,
support groups, parent education, parent/child group activities,
and other supports to relatives caring for children of family
members. Contact: Dr. LaVerne Worthy at (229) 931-5138
for Kinship Care Families in Newton County: Choices
for Children, Inc. has started a program to reach grandparents
and other relative caregivers in the Newton County area.
The program features a support group where caregivers can
come together and share information about services they have
discovered to assist them in the care of their grandchildren
or other child relatives. The support group meets once
a week. The participants determine what the agenda will be.
In addition, Choices for Children staff meet with new caregivers
who come to the program to assess their service needs and
find appropriate resources. Choices for Children offers parenting
classes, legal advocacy, and a referral system. Contact:
Elizabeth McClure, Executive Director, at (770) 385-7450 or
Resource Center: National Center on Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren has been established at Georgia State University
through a grant from Hasbro Children's Foundation. The Center
will focus on issues associated with intergenerational families.
The activities of the Center will include professional education
for social workers, nurses, psychologists, lawyers, and other
professionals involved with grandparents raising grandchildren,
coordination of research and policy related to grandparent
caregivers, and national replication of the Project Healthy
Grandparents (PHG) model, a successful comprehensive service
program that supports grandparent-headed families. Contact:
Susan Kelley at (404) 651-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
Deborah Whitley at (404) 651-2505 or email@example.com.
Care and Georgia’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Georgia, the
Department of Human Resources, Division of Family and Children
of children in out-of-home placements: As of February
2001, there were 14,782 children in out-of-home placements.
Of these children, 2,374 children (16%) were placed with kin.
for kin in out-of-home placements: State policy requires
that kin be considered first when an out-of-home placement
is sought for a child under the Department’s care if the relative
caregiver can provide safe environment for the child and meet
all the state's child protection standards.
for kinship foster parents: There is no separate licensing
program for kinship foster parents. Kin have to meet
the same licensing standards and requirements and receive
the same foster care payment rate as non-kin foster parents.
Care Subsidy Program: In addition to foster care payments
and other benefits available to kin raising children in the
foster care system, some states also have subsidized guardianship
programs. Georgia has a Relative Care Subsidy Program for
children transferred from the legal custody of the Department
to the permanent custody of an approved relative caregiver
and for whom the court has issued a non-reunification order.
Caregivers' homes are reviewed annually by the agency and
every 3 years by the court. The Relative Care Subsidy Program
uses Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds to
support the program. (Social Services Manual, April
2001, Chapter 1000, pp. 10-19). Contact: Gloria Patterson,
Human Services Specialist, Department of Human Resources,
Division of Family and Children Services at (404) 657-3457
care contact: Questions about kinship foster placements
should be directed to Doris Walker, Unit Manager, Department
of Human Resources, Division of Family & Children Services
at (404) 657-3458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and support for kinship foster parents: Any person applying
for a foster care license must complete 30 hours of pre-service
training. In addition, a minimum of 15 hours of in-service
training is required each year for license renewal.
Contact: Jane Bachman, Program Specialist, at (404) 657-3570
for Georgia Kinship Care Families
raised by kinship caregivers are often eligible for a range
of state and federal programs. In most cases, kinship
caregivers may apply for these programs on a child’s behalf
even though they are not the child’s parents or legal guardians.
Some examples of these programs include:
Cash assistance may be available to children and their grandparents
and other relative caregivers through the Georgia Temporary
Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) Program. Kinship
care families may also be eligible for food stamps to help
meet their children’s food and nutrition needs. For
more information about these programs, call (404) 657-7660
or log on to http://www.dhr.state.ga.us.
insurance: Grandparents and other relative caregivers
may apply for free or low-cost health insurance on behalf
of the children they are raising through the Georgia Medicaid
and Peachcare for Kids programs. In some cases, caregivers
may also be eligible for free coverage under Medicaid.
For more information about how to apply for Medicaid, call
1-800-809-7276 or (404) 657-4085 or log on to http://www.dhr.state.ga.us.
For more information about Peachcare for Kids, call
1-877-GAPEACH or log on to http://www.peachcare.org.
kinship caregivers find it difficult to obtain services their
children need, such as medical care or education. In
addition to the state’s child guardianship and custody laws,
the following law may be helpful to kinship caregivers1:
Consent (GA Code Ann. § 31-9-2): This law allows
a grandparent, adult aunt or uncle, adult brother or sister,
or stepparent (or any person with power of attorney) to consent
to medical care on behalf of a child: (1) after the treatment
provider has made a reasonable attempt to contact the child’s
parent or legal guardian and that person cannot be contacted;
and (2) if the parent or legal guardian has not given the
treatment provider notice that they oppose the treatment.