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.
at the Numbers:
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 Missouri
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.
Resources, and Referrals: The University of Missouri Extension
Service addresses a wide variety of aging and intergenerational
issues, including barriers facing Missouri kinship care families.
In addition to sponsoring national teleconferences on kinship
care issues, they also provide information, resources, and
referrals to kinship care families across Missouri. Contact:
Jinny Hopp, Human Development Specialist, at (417) 358-2158
of Support Groups in Kansas City: Children’s Mercy Hospital
operates Family Friends groups in four locations across Missouri
and two locations across the Kansas border. The peer support
groups for grandparents and other relatives raising children
meet weekly and provide an educational guest speaker once
a month. Family Friends distributes a monthly newsletter and
holds annual conferences with workshops for caregivers. In
addition, Family Friends advocates for relative caregivers’
rights and financial support. Contact: Ile Smith, Coordinator,
Family Friends, at (816) 234-3676 or email@example.com.
Services and Individual and Family Counseling: Community Counseling
Center offers support to both relative caregivers and
the children they are caring for through their multi-service
Relatives As Parents Program. The peer support groups
for grandparents and other relatives raising children meet
bi-monthly and include guest speakers on special topics, such
as legislative issues. In addition, Community Counseling
Center offers individual and family counseling for kinship
caregivers as well as other psychiatric outpatient services.
Mentoring services and children’s targeted case management
are available to the children in these families as well.
Their facility is located in Cape Girardeau and serves five
counties in the southeastern quadrant of the state of Missouri.
Contact: Evelyn Beussink, Facilitator, Children’s Alternative
Services, Community Counseling Center, at (573) 334-1100 or
and Enrichment: The University of Missouri, Kansas City
Grandparents as Parents Outreach Program provides daily information
and referral services for grandparents and other relatives
raising children. The program also offers monthly educational
workshops in which both grandparents and grandchildren may
participate. In addition, they operate a 4-week summer
camp for children being raised by relatives on the University
campus that includes cultural enrichment and a supportive
atmosphere. Contact: Rutendo Crawford, Project Coordinator/
Director, Grandparents as Parents Outreach Program, at (816)
444-7012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education & Referral: The Missouri Coalition of Grandparent
and Relative Caregivers advocates for legislation in support
of grandparents and other relative caregivers in Missouri.
The coalition conducts monthly teleconference meetings, which
include professionals as well as caregivers. They communicate
through an e-mail listserv and strive to be heard as the statewide
voice for the relative caregivers of Missouri. Contact: Lois
Fitzpatrick, Missouri Coalition of Grandparent and Relative
Caregivers, at (816) 235-2182 or email@example.com.
a Grassroots Coalition: Proud Grandparents support group
meets once a month and provides educational services as well
as emotional support for grandparents raising grandchildren
in the St. Louis area. The group leader is also active in
two important initiatives: developing a Gateway Grandparents
Network in the St. Louis area, as well as starting a statewide
coalition for grandparents raising grandchildren. Contact:
Dan DuPree, Community Outreach Worker at (314) 652-3600 x275
Care and Missouri’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Missouri, the
Department of Social Services, Division of Family Services
of children in kinship foster placements: As of February
2001, there were 12,264 children in out-of-home placements
under the Department’s supervision. Of these children, 1,912
(15.6%) 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 kin 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.
Guardianship Programs: In addition to foster care payments
and other benefits available to kin raising children in the
foster care system, some states have subsidized guardianship
program. Missouri has a state-funded subsidized guardianship
program, the Non-Parent Caretaker Relative (NPCR) Program,
which provides an ongoing permanency assistance payment to
eligible kin (defined to include an adult sibling, an aunt,
uncle, or grandparent) who become the legal guardians of a
child. The permanency assistance payment is the same as the
foster care payment (Mo. Rev. Stat., § 453.072). Contact:
Lanette Bowring, Missouri Division of Family Services, at
(573) 751-6529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
has also established the Grandparents As Foster Parents (GAFP)
Program. Grandparents must petition the Court to become
the child’s legal custodian or guardian. Caretaker guardians
receive 75% of the foster care subsidy rate, plus a yearly
clothing allowance, respite care, a mileage benefit, and child
care (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 208.029). Contact: Gail
Zielonka, Program Development Specialist, Missouri Division
of Family Services at (573) 751-4269 or email@example.com.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster placements
should be directed to Donna Kirsch, Department of Social Services,
Division of Family Services, at (573) 751-1354 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquiries as to the number of children in the state’s care
should be directed to Lesley Pettit at (573) 751-9604 or email@example.com.
Questions may also be addressed to Veronica Stovall, Department
of Social Services, Division of Family Services, at (573)
522-5060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and support for kinship foster parents: The Missouri
Foster Care and Adoption Association works with kinship care
families in the foster care system. Contact: Jim McKenna at
(417) 538-4362 or D.J.Jim@Inter-Linc.net.
for Missouri 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: Cash assistance
may be available to children and their grandparents and other
relative caregivers through the Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (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 (573) 751-322 or log on to http://www.dss.state.mo.us/dfs/pap.htm.
Grandparents and other relative caregivers may apply for free
or low-cost health insurance on behalf of the children they
are raising through the MC+ program. In some cases,
caregivers may also be eligible for free health coverage under
Medicaid. For more information about how to apply for
MC+, call 1-888-275-5908 or log on to http://www.dss.state.mo.us/mcplus.
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
laws may be helpful to kinship caregivers1:
consent (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 431.058) and (Mo. Rev. Stat.
§ 431.061): This law states that a grandparent,
brother or sister, aunt or uncle, or stepparent of a child
who is the child’s primary caregiver may delegate in writing
the authority to consent to immunization to another adult.
Consent oral or in writing, for other medical and surgical
procedures can be given by persons acting in loco parentis.
Adult siblings and grandparents can also consent if the parent
Enrollment (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.151): This law allows
the following categories of children to attend the public
schools of any district in the state in which they have a
permanent or temporary home without paying a tuition fee:
orphan children, children with only one parent living, and
children whose parents do not contribute to their support
– if the children are between the ages of 6 and 22 and are
unable to pay tuition.