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 Michigan
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 Michigan
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 Initiative: The Michigan Office of Services
to the Aging (OSA) has established a comprehensive Relatives
as Parents Program Statewide Initiative. Through this
initiative, the OSA works collaboratively with other state
agencies and local communities to support kinship care families.
In addition to other activities, the Initiative has helped
to establish new and expand existing kinship care services,
including support and respite services and local resource
guides for kinship caregivers. Kinship care information
is available on a county-by-county basis. Contact: Bonnie
Graham, Field Services Supervisor, at (517) 373-9360 or GrahamBon@michigan.gov.
and Assistance for Michigan Kinship Caregivers: The Kinship
Care Resource Center serves the entire state of Michigan.
Services for relative caregivers include a toll-free hotline
to answer legal questions and provide information and referrals
related to finances, support groups, and other community resources.
The Resource Center works with agencies to do technical assistance
and training, program development, and grant writing.
It provide workshops and is organizing a conference for both
caregivers and agency professionals statewide. It also
provides written information on support group curricula, workshops,
and an information booklet for kinship caregivers that includes
resources listed by county. Contact: Kimberly Clementz,
MSW, Coordinator, at (517) 355-9600 or email@example.com.
You can also call the Hotline at 1-800-535-1218.
Support in Washtenaw County: Catholic Social Services
of Washtenaw County sponsors the Grandparents as Parents Program
(GAP), which provides support and education to grandparents
and other relatives caring for children through twice monthly
support groups in 5 sites throughout the county, home visits
and a monthly newsletter. The monthly newsletter includes
parenting and self-care tips as well as information on group
activities. Caregivers receive referrals for basic needs (such
as food, clothing, financial assistance), and other support
services (legal services, kinship adoption assistance, counseling,
mentors). An “unmet needs” fund provides financial help to
caregivers 60 years of age and over. Contact: Virginia Boyce,
Program Coordinator, at (734) 712-3625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supports for Kinship Care Families: Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren and Relatives as Parents Program serves Berrien,
Cass, and Van Buren Counties through the Region IV Area Agency
on Aging, Inc. The program offers monthly Telephone
Support Groups via conference call with a professional facilitator.
Family Fun Events are held approximately every four months
for caregivers and children. Experts on topics of interest
to relative caregivers conduct Speaker Forums every 2-3 months.
Child care and mileage reimbursement are provided for meetings
and events. A bi-monthly newsletter is available. Caregivers
seeking information and referrals for legal, financial, parenting,
educational, and health assistance can call toll-free 1-877
660-2725 or (616) 983-7058. Contact: Camellia Pisegna,
Director, at (616) 983-7058 or email@example.com.
for Michigan Seniors: Michigan residents who are 60 years
and older can receive free legal advice from four attorneys
staffing the statewide legal hotline. The hotline addresses
kinship care issues, in addition to general legal issues affecting
seniors. The toll-free number is 1-800-347-5297 for
Group Network in Macomb County: The Macomb County Department
of Senior Citizen’s Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren offers
four support groups for relative caregivers, as well as a
children’s support group. Child care is provided during the
support group meetings. Respite services are also available
in addition to a bi-monthly newsletter. Three to four speaker
workshops are given each year, in addition to two four-week
information workshops. Recreation activities are planned for
children and caregivers. Services are available for relative
caregivers in Macomb County. Referrals are made to other
social service agencies and for legal assistance. Contact:
Mary Potts, Kinship Care Coordinator, (586) 469-6315 or visit
County Kinship Care Supports: The Kinship Care Program
provides educational and emotional support, advocacy, information,
and case management services to relative caregivers in Midland
County. A caregiver support group meets monthly along with
a separate children’s group called KinKids. A meal is provided
to the entire family during the support groups. Referrals
are also made for legal and financial assistance. Contact:
Lisa Hatfield, Kinship Care Coordinator, at (989) 631-5390
County Kinship Care Supports: The Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren Program provides case management services, in
addition to a monthly support group that meets September through
May. All relative caregivers in Hillsdale County may participate.
Referrals are also made for legal assistance, counseling,
financial and medical assistance, and respite care.
Contact: Jane Sanderson, Kinship Care Coordinator, at (517)
437-2422 or toll-free 1-800-479-3348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website is http://www.hillsdaleseniorcenter.org.
County Kinship Care Supports: The Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren Program provides services and supports to kinship
care providers and their children. The program sponsors
two weekly support groups, one during the day and one in the
evening. Support group participants receive a free meal,
child-care, transportation and peer support. The program
also provides a therapeutic group for adults and two support
groups for children (one for girls and one for boys between
the ages of 9 and 14). Additionally, the program sponsors
an annual conference, an annual picnic, an annual Christmas
party, and a summer camp for 30 to 50 children. It can also
provide emergency assistance, assistance with guardianship
and adoption, and referrals to appropriate agencies to assist
clients with special needs such as clothing, food medical,
utilities, beds, etc. Contact: Judith Donnelly, Program
Coordinator, at (517) 788-4364 or email@example.com.
Resource Center: The Grandparent Resource Center of Life
Guidance Services offers a six-week support group, three or
four times a year for grandparents in West Michigan only.
Child care and dinner is provided during the support group
meetings. There is a grandchildren’s group for children
over the age of seven. The Center also publishes a quarterly
newsletter, which contains information on special events,
legal and legislative issues, and other agency news. The Center
offers a warm-line Monday through Friday at (616) 774-0633.
A scholarship fund is available to assist income-eligible
grandparents in sending their grandchildren to faith-based
schools. Referrals are made to a variety of community
resources within West Michigan. Contact: Kelley Worth, Clinical
Social Worker Therapist, at (616) 774-0633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for Kinship Care Families: Spaulding for Children
provides a variety of services to kinship caregivers within
the agency and the community. Some of the services include
support groups, respite care, youth programs, and information
on permanency options. Contact: Karen Hinton, Project
Leader, at (248) 443-0300 or email@example.com.
Available in Wayne County:
Law Center of the Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services,
has a Caregivers Program which provides legal assistance to
caregivers, including grandparent and other relative caregivers,
60 years and older. The Program provides legal services,
information, and referrals for guardianships and medical assistance.
Legal services are provided to grandparent caregivers, regardless
of age, who reside in Redford and Canton. The program also
provides elder abuse education. Contact: Linda White, Office
Manager, at (313) 937-8291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grandparent Support Program: The Grandparent Support Program
of the Adult Well-Being Services offers comprehensive supports
and services for grandparents and other relatives over age
50 caring for related children. Supports and services
include six to eight weeks of information sessions and an
education series. Once the education series is completed,
participants are invited to attend monthly support meetings.
Monthly family group meetings for kinship caregivers and the
children they are caring for and a “teenage granddaughters”
meeting are also offered. Social workers are also available
to provide case management services, and substance abuse and
parenting information is available. In-home respite care and
mental health services for caregivers are also available.
Activities for the children are provided, including tutoring
and outings to local events and exhibits. Respite care services
are limited to Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park, but other
services may be available to caregivers in other parts of
Southeast Michigan (call to determine eligibility). Contact:
Erroll Young, Social Worker, at (313) 825-2500 or email@example.com
County Support Program: The Second Time Around Program,
provided through the Michigan State University Extension,
is a support program for grandparents raising grandchildren.
Grandparents are invited to participate in an eight-week,
curriculum-based information series. After completing
the series, grandparents have the option of participating
in monthly support groups and monthly educational workshops.
Child care is provided during meeting times, and there is
a lending library for grandparents and grandchildren.
Second Time Around also has a monthly newsletter, and offers
family events (such as holiday parties and picnics) a few
times a year. The program is open to grandparents in
Kalamazoo County and the surrounding counties in Southwest
Michigan. Contact: Joyce Stout, Coordinator, (616) 383-8830
or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is http://www.kalcounty.com/msue/grand/index.htm
Care and Michigan’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Michigan, the
Bureau of Child and Family Services of the Family Independence
of children in kinship foster placements: As of March
2002, the Bureau of Child and Family Services had a total
of 20,026 children in out-of-home placements. Of these children,
6,185 (30.8%) were placed with relatives.
for kinship placements: State policy requires that kin
be considered first when an out-of-home placement is sought
for a child under the Bureau’s care.
for kinship foster parents: In Michigan, some kinship
care providers must meet the same licensing standards as non-kin
foster parents. Once kin are licensed, they are eligible to
receive a foster care payment. Some kinship care providers
meet different standards than those for non-kin. Once
they meet the assessment standards, they are eligible to receive
a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) child-only
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. Michigan currently does
not have a subsidized guardianship program.
care contact: Questions about kinship care foster placements
should be directed to Bryan Steward, Manager, Foster Care
Program at (517) 335-4652.
group for kinship foster parents: Saginaw County Commission
on Aging provides a weekly support group for relatives raising
kin who are in foster care or at risk of entering the foster
care system. In addition to the support group, caregivers
receive case management services and information on public
benefits, resources, permanency options, respite care, and
parenting skills. Child care is available during the
support group meetings. Contact: Janelle Steckely, Coordinator
of the Grandparent Support Program, at (989) 797-6884 or email@example.com.
and support for kinship foster parents: The Michigan Foster
and Adoptive Parent Association provides additional support
services for relative and non-relative caregivers. Contact:
for Michigan 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 the Family Independence
Program. This program provides monthly financial support
in one of two ways to families who are raising a child – through
“Child Only Grants” or “Family Grants.” Only the
child is considered for benefits and only the child’s income
and assets are considered when determining eligibility for
a Child Only Grant. Legal guardianship is not required,
but the child must be living with the caregiver. Kinship
care families may also be eligible for the Food Assistance
Program to help meet their children’s food and nutrition needs.
For more information about these programs, call (517) 373-2035,
e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or log on to http://www.michigan.gov/fia.
insurance: Grandparents and other relative caregivers
may apply for free or low-cost health insurance on behalf
of the children they are raising through Healthy Kids or MIChild.
In some cases, caregivers may also be eligible for free coverage
under Medicaid. Children receiving assistance through
a Child Only Grant from the Independence Agency are automatically
eligible for coverage through Healthy Kids. For more
information about how to apply for Healthy Kids or MIChild,
call 1-888-988-6300 or log on to http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/msa/mdch_msa/miindex.htm.
does not have any state laws in effect specifically directed
at kinship care families.