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 Oregon
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 Oregon
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 email@example.com, 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.
Start for Kinship Care Families: South Coast Head Start
provides support groups, respite care, and legal services
to kinship care families. Sponsored by The Brookdale
Foundation’s Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP), the program
also facilitates the enrollment of children raised by relatives
in its Head Start program and offers literacy, employment,
and parenting education services. Contact: Chris Shangraw
at (541) 888-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Services for Kinship Caregivers: The Milwaukie Center,
also sponsored by The Brookdale Foundation’s Relatives as
Parents Program (RAPP), provides support groups, respite,
legal referrals, parenting training, and information for grandparents
raising grandchildren in the Portland area. Contact: Cheryl
Nally, Human Services Coordinator, at (503) 653-8100 or email@example.com.
Care Supports in Northeast Oregon: Urban League Adult
and Senior Services provides support groups, information,
and referrals for kinship care families in Northeast Oregon.
Staff travels throughout the state to speak about issues affecting
kinship care families. The organization also offers
legal services to eligible kinship care providers. Contact:
D’Norgia Price, Director, at (503) 988-5470 ext. 24559 or
Organizing for Kinship Care Families: The Oregon Grandparents
as Parents Group represents the needs of kinship care families
across Oregon by providing one-on-one counseling and legal,
medical, agency, and support group referrals. Contact:
Edna Pittman at (503) 493-3307.
Raising Grandchildren Support and Activist Group: YWCA
North Center runs a monthly support and activist group for
grandparents raising grandchildren in the Portland region.
YWCA runs a pilot support group for grandparents raising grandchildren
and teen parents to share common experiences and parenting
techniques. The organization also provides special workshops
for kinship care families. Contact: Oweda Powe, Activities
Coordinator, at (503) 721-6779 or owedap@YWCA-pdx.org.
Respite Care Programs for Kinship Families: The Oregon
Lifespan Respite Care Program helps counties develop and implement
community-based Lifespan Respite Care networks to offer families
a break from their caregiving responsibilities. The
Lifespan networks help families and caregivers locate respite
care services in their communities, offering individually-tailored
care to each family as needed. Some of the services
offered include providing respite-related information, recruitment
and training of paid and volunteer providers, referrals to
respite services and linking families with respite payment
resources. A list of county Lifespan locations and phone
numbers can be found at http://www.sdsd.hr.state.or.us/lifespan/index.htm.
Contact: Debbie Bowers at (503) 945-6815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
for Portland Kinship Families: The Portland Office
of Casey Family Services provides referrals and resources
for kinship care families in the Portland area. It works
individually with kinship care families and also provides
referrals to Kinship House for other group programs and services.
Contact: Matt Farah at (503) 287-6068 ext. 238 or email@example.com.
Care and Oregon’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Oregon, the
Department of Human Services, Children, Adults, and Families
of children in kinship foster placements: As of March
2002, 8,900 children were in out-of-home placements under
the Department’s supervision, according to federal reporting
requirements’ definition of foster care. Of these children,
1,800 children (22%) 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: Kin have to meet the same
standards as non-kin foster parents. Kin caring for
children who are eligible for federal IV-E funding foster
care funding receive a foster care payment. Kin caring
for children who are not eligible for this federal funding
are eligible to receive a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
Assistance: In addition to foster care payments and other
benefits available to kin raising children in foster care,
some states also have subsidized guardianship programs.
Oregon offers Guardianship Assistance under a Title IV-E Demonstration
Project which runs through July 31, 2003. This program
provides ongoing subsidies and medical coverage for children
of caregivers that choose to become permanent guardians of
children from the foster care system. The Guardianship
Assistance Program is only available to children who are entitled
to federal IV-E foster care funding. The program provides
monthly payments up to the amount granted for foster care
families for children up to age 18 for as long as the child
remains under the care of the family. Other benefits
may include cash, Medicaid coverage, non-recurring legal costs,
and or Title XIX Personal Care payments. Individual Guardianship
Assistance is subject to a case review annually. Contact:
Cheri Emahiser, IV-E Waiver Project Manager, Department of
Human Services, Children, Adults, and Families, at (503) 945-6681
care contact: Questions about kinship foster placements
should be directed to Kevin George, Foster Care Manager, Services
to Children and Families, at (503) 945-5987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department: Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua Siuslaw
works to place children from the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw
tribes with other families in these tribes. The Confederation
also runs a bi-weekly support group for kinship foster parents
out of the Tribal Hall. Contact: Lorre Lewis at (541)
888-7512 or email@example.com.
for kinship foster placements: The Oregon Foster Parent
Association provides information and referrals to all foster
parents, including kinship care families. Contact: OFPAoffice@aol.com.
The website is http://www.OFPA.com.
for Oregon 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 Oregon’s Job Opportunity
and Basic Skills (JOBS) 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 (503) 945-5600 or log on to http://www.afs.hr.state.or.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 Oregon’s Medicaid
and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In some
cases, caregivers may also be eligible for free coverage under
Medicaid. For more information about how to apply for
these programs, call 1-800-359-9517 or log on to http://www.governor.state.or.us/governor/hhslp/ocp.htm.
does not have any state laws in effect specifically directed
at kinship care families.