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
are taken from the U.S. Census Bureau Table DP-2. Profile
Selected Social Characteristics: 2000.
Care Initiatives in Louisiana
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.
for Kinship Caregivers: The East Baton Rouge Council on
Aging offers the Grandparents Support Program for kinship
caregivers over the age of 60 who are caring for children
under the age of 18. The program offers respite and
personal care attendants for up to six hours per week. They
also provide educational services and a support group.
The program also hosts speakers from various agencies within
the community to address the needs and concerns of kinship
care providers. Contact: Lillie Washington, INA Supervisor,
at (225) 923-8000 x 242 or INA@seniorsurfers.org.
Care Supports in Lafayette: The Extra Mile – Grandparents
Raising Grandchildren, which serves Lafayette and eight neighboring
parishes, supports kinship care families by holding public
workshops, running a network of support groups, providing
respite care, organizing child care swaps between grandparents,
and offering an information line, resource library, and newsletter.
Contact: Katherin Boudreaux at (337) 237-0508.
Support for Kinship Care Families: Second Time Around
is a grassroots coalition of Louisiana kinship caregivers
that sponsors an annual conference for Louisiana grandparents
raising their grandchildren, including workshops on mentoring,
child well-being, substance abuse, and conflict resolution.
The group also sponsors monthly seminars on subjects such
as voluntary custody and child support and works actively
to promote both federal and state legislative initiatives
on behalf of kinship care families. Contact: Dot Thibodeaux
at (225) 923-8000 ext. 220, or Traci Godfrey at (225) 923-8000
Care and Louisiana’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Louisiana,
the Department of Social Services reports:
of children in kinship foster placements: As of March
2002, there were 4,400 children under the Department’s supervision
in out-of-home placements. Of these children, slightly over
600 children (14%) were placed with kin.
for kinship 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.
for kinship foster parents: There is no separate licensing
program for kinship foster parents. Kin have to meet
the same licensing standards 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. Louisiana has a Kinship Care Subsidy Program
that provides cash assistance for eligible children who reside
with qualified relatives other than parents who have legal
custody or guardianship of a child living in their home. If
the relative does not have legal or guardianship at the time
of application, assistance may be still begin for a period
of one year before the guardianship is finalized. Unlike
many other state subsidized guardianship programs, a child
does not need to be in state custody to qualify for this program
(La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 46.237). As of April 30, 2002,
there were 4,707 children receiving cash assistance through
the Kinship Care Subsidy Program. Contact: Martha Walton,
Program Specialist, at (225) 219-9416 or email@example.com.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster care should
be directed to Jean Pittman, Foster Care Program Director,
at (225) 342-4006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and support for kinship foster parents: Kinship foster
parents are encouraged to participate in the Louisiana Foster
and Adoptive Parent Association, which provides support for
kin and non-kin raising children in the foster care system.
Contact: Myra Magee, President, at (985) 986-2808
for Louisiana 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 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 Louisiana’s
Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP).
Louisiana also has a Kinship Care Subsidy Program for qualified
relatives who have legal custody or guardianship of the children
they are raising (see information in the “child welfare” section
above). 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
(225) 342-4051 or log on to http://www.dss.state.la.us/offofs/html/tanf_state_plan.html.
insurance: Grandparents and other relative caregivers
may apply for free or low-cost health insurance on behalf
of the children they are raising through Louisiana’s LaCHIP
program. In some cases, caregivers may also be eligible for
free health coverage under Medicaid. For more information
about how to apply for LaCHIP, call 1-877-2-LACHIP or log
on to http://www.dhh.state.la.us.
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:
and Medical Consent (La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:975):
This law permits designated caregivers without legal custody
or guardianship to consent to medical and educational services
on behalf of a child in their care.