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 South Carolina
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 South Carolina
In South Carolina,
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.
of Kinship Care Support Groups: Parents Anonymous is a
non-profit organization that offers support to parents and
kinship caregivers. Parents Anonymous offers support
groups for relative caregivers in Goosecreek, Columbia, and
Aiken. These groups also provide kinship care families
with information and referrals to local resources. Contact:
Sharon Dean, Program Director, at (843) 747-0480 or email@example.com.
Resources, and Referrals for Kinship Care Families: South
Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of
Senior Services provides relative caregivers referrals to
resources in their local communities. The Department also
provides support group services to the northern section of
the state and is developing a kinship care resource directory
that will provide statewide information. Contact: Linda O’Leary,
Intergenerational Coordinator, at (803) 898-2848 or o’firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enrichment for Kinship Care Families: Pee Dee Community
Action Agency Head Start has a “Kin Folks Program” which
has collaborated with community partners and program members
to develop a guide for parenting education training.
“Kin Folks” who are unemployed or unable to return to work
are encouraged to participate in daily Head Start activities
with the children. This program increases awareness of information
and benefits to help strengthen kinship care families. Contact:
Kathryn Woods, Head Start Director, at (843) 678-3414 or email@example.com.
Care and South Carolina’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In South Carolina,
the Department of Social Services, Division of Foster Care
of children in kinship foster placements: As of March
2001, there were 4,820 children in out-of-home placements
under Department’s care. Of these children, approximately
250 (5%) 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 requirements 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 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. South Carolina currently
does not have a subsidized guardianship program.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster care placements
should be directed to Jackie Kasufkin, South Carolina Department
of Social Services, Division of Foster Care Licensing, at
(803) 898-7254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
for South Carolina 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 Optional State Supplementation
(OSS) 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 (803)
898-2500 or log on to
insurance: Grandparents and other relative caregivers
may apply for free or low-cost health insurance on behalf
of the children they are raising through South Carolina’s
Partners for Healthy Children program. In some cases,
caregivers may also be eligible for free coverage under Medicaid.
For more information about Partner’s for Healthy Children,
call 1-888-549-0820 or log on to http://www.dhhs.state.sc.us/FAQ/children.htm.
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:
Enrollment (S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-32): This law
allows an adult caring for a child to enroll the child in
school by signing an affidavit confirming that the child's
residency in the district is not primarily related to attending
a particular school in the district and that the adult accepts
responsibility for the child’s educational decisions, including
receiving discipline notices, attending conferences, and giving
permission to participate in school activities.