the country, more than six million children -- approximately
1 in 12 children -- are living in households headed by grandparents
or other relatives. The District of Columbia has
more than 113,000 children living in households headed by grandparents
or other relatives. In many of these households, grandparents
and other relatives are the primary caregivers (“kinship caregivers”)
for children whose parents cannot or will not care for them
due to substance abuse, illness and death, abuse and neglect,
economic hardship, incarceration, divorce, domestic violence,
and other family and community crises.
Look at the Numbers: Kinship Care in Indiana
The data below show the numbers
of grandparents who are living in households with at least
one grandchild under the age of 18, as well as the numbers
of grandparents who are the primary caregivers for these grandchildren.
These numbers were reported by the 2000 U.S. Census and are
available for every place (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau)
in the country, including cities, towns, villages, and boroughs,
on the U.S. Census website.*
Living in Households with One or More Own Grandchildren
Responsible for Meeting the Basic Needs of Grandchildren
data are taken from the U.S. Census Bureau Table DP-2. Profile
Selected Social Characteristics: 2000.
Care Initiatives in Kentucky
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or search AARP’s online kinship
care support group database at http://www.aarp.org/grandparents/searchsupport/.
state and national kinship care resources and supports
are available on the Generations United website at http://www.gu.org,
and GrandsPlace at http://www.grandsplace.org and
Grandparent Again at http://www.grandparentagain.com,
two websites coordinated by grandparents raising grandchildren.
Kinship Care Support Network: The State Office for Aging
Services’ Kentucky KinCare Project has provided small grants
to fund support groups for grandparents and other relative
caregivers throughout the state of Kentucky with support from
the Brookdale Foundation’s Relatives as Parents (RAPP) Program.
Family service and youth resource centers attached to local
schools across Kentucky generally coordinate the support groups
and have provided additional funding for many of them.
In addition to providing support through group activities
and education, many groups are able to offer legal, health,
and financial referrals to the caregivers with whom they are
working. The state KinCare Project office can provide contact
information for relative care support groups throughout the
state. Contact: Bill Montgomery, Coordinator, at (502) 564-6930
and Referrals in Louisville and Lexington:
The Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren program (housed in the Oak and Acorn Intergenerational
Center in Louisville) provides a network of support groups
as well as referrals for legal, mental health, medical, and
financial issues to relative caregivers and the children for
whom they are caring. The program’s service area is primarily
West Louisville. Contact: Gladys Bryant at (502) 485-8862
member Grandparents Club at the John F. Kennedy Montessori
School in Louisville also provides support for local kinship
care families. In addition to raising grandchildren who attend
the school, club members also serve as volunteers in the school.
Under the auspices of the Jefferson County Public Schools,
the club also sponsors an annual Grandparents Conference.
Contact: Bobbie Powell, President, at (502) 485-8280.
Who Care provides support groups, educational resources,
and service referrals to kinship caregivers in the Lexington/Fayette
Urban County region. The program’s most common referrals are
for health care, child care, and legal and financial services.
Grandparents Who Care also provides a resource guide and a
newsletter. Contact: Robynn Pease, Coordinator of Aging Services,
at (859) 258-3806 or email@example.com.
in Northern Kentucky: The Northern Kentucky area (across
the Ohio River from Cincinnati) is home to the Grandparents
& Relatives Raising Children Support Group which serves
the Newport area under the direction of the Campbell County
Cooperative Extension Service. The program also provides
referrals for a variety of kinship care services. Contact:
Mary Roenker at (859) 356-3155.
for Kinship Care Families in Central Kentucky: Open
Arms provides support groups, general advocacy services, and
educational resources for relative caregivers and foster parents.
The program’s most common referrals are for child support,
child care, legal, and health services. Contact: Laura Cooper,
Founder, at (270) 737-5110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supports for Kinship Care Families: Learning and Loving
KinCare Program provides services to kinship caregivers in
the Bell County region of Kentucky through support groups
and referrals to mental health, health care, and home support
services. Contact: Melissa Mason at (606) 337-7895.
Comprehensive Kinship Care
Services: The Family Resource Youth Services Center (FRYSC)
Grandparent’s Group provides a monthly support group and referrals
to relative caregivers in western Kentucky. The most common
referrals made to relative caregivers are for legal, health
care, home health, and mental health services. Contact: Opal
Oakley, Assistant Director of Programs, at (270) 759-9592
Care and Kentucky’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Kentucky, the
Department for Community Based Services reports:
of children in kinship foster placements: As of May 7,
2002, the Department for Community Based Services had a total
of 5,500 children in foster care and 4,103 children in kinship
placements (the kinship and foster care programs in Kentucky
for kinship placements: State policy requires that kin
be sought out and given preference as a placement option when
an out-of-home placement is needed for a child under the Department’s
for kinship care providers: Kinship care providers are
generally approved based upon different standards than non-kin
foster parents. Some kinship caregivers may, in rare
instances, become licensed foster parents. However,
most commonly, kinship care providers are approved through
a process that is different from the foster care licensing
process. Once kin are approved, they receive a monthly
payment through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Guardianship: In addition to foster care payments and
other benefits available to kin raising children in foster
care, some states also have subsidized guardianship programs.
Most of these programs offer ongoing subsidies to children
who have left foster care to live permanently under the legal
custody or guardianship of relatives. Subsidized guardianship
is offered in Kentucky to kinship care providers willing to
permanently care for children for whom reunification or adoption
is not possible. It is offered as an alternative to foster
care. A child who has not been adjudicated abused or
neglected is not eligible for the subsidized guardianship
program (KY Statute 605.120). Contact: Marian Call at email@example.com.
care contact: Questions about kinship care should be directed
to Marian Call at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lisa
Durbin at email@example.com.
for Kentucky Kinship Care Families
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 parent or legal guardian. Some examples
of these programs include:
Cash assistance may be available to children and their
grandparents and other relative caregivers through the Kentucky
Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP). 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 (502) 564-7050 or log
on to http://cfc.state.ky.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 Kentucky Children’s
Health Insurance Program (KCHIP). In some cases, caregivers
may also be eligible for free health coverage under Medicaid.
For more information about how to apply for KCHIP program
call 1-877-KCHIP-18, TTY/TDD: 1-877-KCHIP-19, Spanish: 1-800-662-5397
or log on to http://chs.state.ky.us/kchip/.
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:
Custodian (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 403.270): This law
allows a court to declare a relative or non-related caretaker
as a child’s custodian. The “de facto custodian” must
show that he or she has been the primary caretaker and financial
supporter of a child six months or more (if the child is under
three years of age) and for a period of one year or more (if
the child is three years of age or older or has been placed
by the Department for Community Based Services).