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: Kinship Care in New Mexico
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 New Mexico
In New Mexico,
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.
Center for Kinship Care Families: Advocates for Children
and Families of Doña Ana County has a Grandparents
Raising Grandchildren Center that serves local kinship care
families. The organization is also developing a pilot program
for the rest of the state. The center provides information
and referrals, offers support groups, and sponsors social
events for grandparents and grandchildren. Contact: Nina Mervine,
Executive Director, at (505) 525-1060, or email@example.com
for Parenting the Second Time Around: The Grandparents
Raising Grandchildren Program of Outcomes, Inc. offers an
array of free and sliding scale-based classes and counseling
for grandparent caregivers and the children they are raising
in Albuquerque and surrounding areas. Trained staff help grandparents
and parents work through issues of visitation and other areas
of family disagreement. For grandchildren, there is a free
10-week psycho-educational program designed to improve self-esteem,
overcome issues of abuse, abandonment or grief, improve communication,
and develop other life skills. Contact: Christine Turner,
Parent Craft Coordinator at (505) 243-2551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
for Kinship Care Families: GAIN (Grandparents Are Indeed
Necessary) advocates for grandparents rights, visitation and
meets weekly in Albuquerque. Contact: Marilyn Schaer
at (505) 296-3589.
Supports for Kinship Care Families dealing with Substance
Abuse and HIV/AIDS: The GRO Project (Grandparents and
Relatives Outreach Project) of the University of New Mexico
Health Sciences Center is a case management model that serves
grandparents and other relatives caring for children affected
by pre-natal substance abuse or HIV in Albuquerque. The project
provides legal assistance, help in obtaining public benefits,
a support group, and advocacy efforts. The group was also
instrumental in getting New Mexico’s State Custody Assisted
Guardianship Act passed. Contact: Bebeann Bouchard, Project
Director, at (505) 272-3459 or email@example.com.
Care and New Mexico’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In New Mexico,
the Children, Youth, and Families Department reports:
children in kinship foster placements: As of April, 2002,
there were 1,795 children in out-of-home placements. Of these
children, 325 (18.27%) children 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.
Guardianship: 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. New Mexico has two programs: Tribal Assisted Guardianship
and State Custody Assisted Guardianship. Supported by
federal funding, these “waiver” programs provide subsidies
to kin and qualified non-related caregivers who obtain legal
guardianship of children in tribal or state custody.
Contact: Jeff Thompson, Title IV-E Program Manager, at (505)
827-8427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster care should
be directed to Arlene Lucero, Placement Administrator, Children
Youth & Families Department at 505-841-7800 or email@example.com.
for New Mexico 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 New Mexico’s 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 1-888-473-3676 or log
on to http://www.state.nm.us/hsd/isd.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 the New MexiKids
program. In some cases, caregivers may also be eligible for
free health coverage under Medicaid. For more information
about how to apply for these programs, call 1-888-997-2583
or log on to http://www.state.nm.us/hsd/mad/Index.html.
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 (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-10-2): This law allows
a child’s parent or guardian to designate a third-party caregiver
who does not have legal custody or guardianship to consent
to medical care on behalf of a child.