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 Texas
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 Texas
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.
Resource and Referrals for Senior Caregivers: The Texas
Department of Aging’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) offer information
and referrals for all Texas seniors, including grandparents
raising grandchildren. Referrals are available for support
groups, respite care, and other services. Seniors are
connected to the agency in their local county, where the availability
of services for kinship care families varies. Contact:
AAA hotline at 1-800-252-9240 or http://www.tdoa.state.tx.us/AAADirectory.htm.
or Gary Jesse, Director, Office of AAA Support and Operations,
Texas Department of Aging, at (512) 424-6840 or email@example.com.
of Texas is another on-line information and referral resource
for senior housing and elder care information. The site
offers information on support groups, respite care, and contact
information based on location. Contact: Log on to http://elderoptionsoftexas.com.
Coalitions of Kinship Caregivers: The AARP’s Texas Office
is leading a growing effort to create grassroots coalitions
of grandparents and other relatives raising children in the
San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. With the resources
and support of AARP’s national office, the coalitions will
focus on creating public awareness about the needs of Texas
kinship care families and educating Texas legislators and
policy makers about the services they need. Contact:
For more information about how to join these coalitions, Texas
kinship caregivers should send their name, address, phone,
and e-mail address to: AARP Texas Office, 98 San Jacinto Boulevard,
Suite 750, Austin, Texas 78701, call (512) 480-9797.
for Dallas Kinship Care Families: The City of Dallas Office
of Senior Affairs has a partnership with the Urban League
of Dallas and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to provide resource
materials to kinship caregivers in the Dallas metropolitan
area. The materials connect kinship care families to
local services and provide general information about public
benefits, support groups, and coalition-building efforts in
the area. Contact: Constance Smith, Dallas Office of
Senior Affairs, at (214) 670-5709 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
for Kinship Care Providers: University of Houston Parent
Education Project offers the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Program to grandparents and other relatives providing kinship
care in Houston. The program is located in Thompson
Elementary School in south Houston. It provides weekly meetings,
educational classes, and field trips. The program also
offers referrals to kinship care providers for resources in
the area. The program uses an in-house therapist and
a family resource coordinator to address the needs and concerns
of the kinship caregivers. Contact: Angie Grindon,
Director, at (713) 743-5491.
Skills for Houston Kinship Caregivers:
ESCAPE Family Resource Center offers Circle of Love, a parenting
course for kinship caregivers and the children they are raising
in the Houston area. The six-week course includes such
topics as how to deal with the absence of the biological parents,
caregivers’ loss of their roles as traditional grandparents,
how to ease transitions for children, helping everyone to
maintain a positive relationship with the biological parent,
and a broad range of communication, problem solving, and family
living skills. Caregivers and children are divided into
separate discussion groups and are then brought back together
at the end of class to explore relevant issues as a family.
Classes are free. Contact: Jennifer Montes, Program
Support, Circle of Love, at (713) 942-9500 or email@example.com.
for Kinship Care Families in the Panhandle: The Area Agency
on Aging of the Panhandle provides information and services
to grandparents and other senior relatives ages 60 and over
who are raising children under the age of 18. Serving 26 counties
in the Texas Pandhandle, the organization provides basic information
on public benefits, support groups, limited funding for respite
services, and a “Grandparents Day Out” social event. The organization
also works closely with the Community Resource Coordination
Groups to provide individual case services. Contact:
Melissa Bjerke, Caregiver Specialist, at (806) 372-3381 or
Care and Texas’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Texas, the
Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (DPRS) reports:
of children in kinship foster placements: As of August
31, 2001, there were 13,729 children in paid out-of-home placements.
Of these children, 2,871 children (20.9%) were placed with
for kinship placements: State law requires that kin be
considered first when an out-of-home placement is sought for
a child under DPRS’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. Most of these programs offer ongoing subsidies
to children who have left foster care to live permanently
under the legal custody of guardianship of relatives.
Texas currently does not have a subsidized guardianship program.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster placements
should be directed to Norton Teutsch, Program Specialist V,
at (512) 438-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and support for kinship foster parents: The State Foster
Parent Association in Texas, Texas State Foster Parents, Inc.
(TSFPI), serves kin and non-kin foster parents. Contact:
Roy Block, President, at (210) 493-7567 or email@example.com.
The website is http://www.TSFPI.org.
for kinship foster parents: Collin County Children’s Advocacy
Center in Plano provides one-stop services for abused and
neglected children and their families. The Center provides
services ranging from forensic interviewing to a full range
of therapy and support services. Among the services
provided is a support group for relatives raising kin who
are in foster care or at risk of entering the foster care
system. Caregivers receive information on related topics
and have access to an array of community resources.
Child care is available during support group meetings.
Contact: Dan Powers, Clinical Director, at 972-633-6600 or
on kinship foster care: Under a grant from the federal
Department of Health and Human Services, the DePelchin Children’s
Center in Houston has established the Kin Can Program. The
program seeks to identify relatives of children in foster
care in order to find safe and permanent placements with the
kin or to foster long-term relationships. The Center also
offers parenting training and support open to kinship care
families. Contact: Susan Mapp, Research Assistant II, at (713)
802-7634 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
training, and support in San Antonio: The Comprehensive
Relative Enhancement and Support Training Program (CREST)
is a collaborative program between Casey Family Programs and
the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services
, which was started through a three-year federal Adoption
Opportunity Grant. CREST provides kinship caregivers with
training, caseworker support, information and referrals, support
groups, counseling, and goods. This program serves caregivers
in the San Antonio area. Contact: Norton Teutsch, Program
Specialist V, Texas DPRS, at (512) 438-3312 or email@example.com
or Don Arispe, Social Worker, Casey Family Programs, at (210)
616-0813 or DArispe@casey.org.
by Casey Family Programs (Southern Regional Office) on
kinship care in Texas: Casey Family Programs is conducting
research in Texas communities to learn more about the needs
of kinship caregivers and the systems designed to support
them in the Valley Region and San Antonio. Contact:
Pamela Gionfriddo, Research Analyst, Casey Family Programs,
at (512) 441-5322 est. 238 or firstname.lastname@example.org
for Texas 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 Texas Works program.
In addition to monthly child-only payments for eligible children,
Texas Works offers a one-time supplemental payment of $1,000
to grandparents who are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren.
To be eligible, grandparents must be 45 years of age or older
and have a family income that is at or below 200% of the poverty
level. 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
1-800-448-3927 or log on to http://www.dhs.state.tx.us/programs/TexasWorks/index.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 TexCare Partnership,
which includes Medicaid and the 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 Medicaid, call 1-800-647-6558
or log on to http://www.texcarepartnership.com.
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 (Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 32.001 et
seq.): This law allows a child’s grandparent, adult sibling,
aunt or uncle and designated others to consent to medical,
dental, psychological, and surgical treatment for a child
when the child’s parent or guardian cannot be contacted and
has not given notice that he or she opposes the treatment.