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 Utah
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
Lake City city
Valley City city
are taken from the U.S. Census Bureau Table DP-2. Profile
Selected Social Characteristics: 2000.
Care Initiatives in Utah
In Utah, 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.
for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Jewish Family
Services in Salt Lake City offers a weekly support group for
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. This family-building program
is designed to enhance kinship care family relationships and
address the unique issues they face. Separate support groups
for grandchildren ages 6 and up are held simultaneously. Contact:
Robin Hersh, Director of Older Adult Services and Support
Group Facilitator, at (801) 581-1330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Care and Utah’s Foster Care System
children in the care of the states are placed in foster care
with grandparents or other relatives. In Utah, the Department
of Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services reports:
of children in kinship foster placements: As of April
2001, there were 2,083 children in out-of-home placements
under the Department’s supervision. Of those children, 149
children (7%) 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.
Assistance Payments: 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. Utah has a state-funded subsidized guardianship
program that provides an ongoing permanency assistance payment
to eligible kin and non-kin guardians who cannot qualify for
a relative grant through TANF. The maximum monthly payment
is only allowed up to the specialized foster care rate. Contact:
LeRoy Franke, Adoption State Specialist, Division of Child
and Family Services, at (801) 538-4078 or email@example.com.
care contact: Questions about kinship foster care placements
should be directed to Angela Oliver-Khairallah, Department
of Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services,
at (801) 538-4100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
services for kinship foster parents: The Children’s Service
Society of Utah in Salt Lake, the state’s oldest child welfare
agency, provides a support group for relatives raising kin
who are in foster care or at risk of entering the foster care
system. In addition to the support group, caregivers
receive information on public benefits, resources, legal options,
and parenting skills. Child care is available during the support
group meetings. Contact: Bonnie Peters, Social Services
Director, at 801-355-7444.
advocacy and referrals: The Utah Foster Care Foundation
offers information and referrals to Utah kinship caregivers
raising children in the foster care system. In addition,
the Foundation also engages in policy advocacy on behalf of
kinship care families and other foster families. Contact:
Patty Van Wagoner, Deputy Director, Division of Child and
Family Services, at (801) 538-4527 or email@example.com.
for Utah 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 parent or legal guardian. Three
examples of these programs include:
Cash assistance may be available to children and their grandparents
and other relative caregivers through the Family Employment
Program (FEP). Kinship care families may also be eligible
for food stamps to help meet their children’s food and nutrition
needs. For more information about FEP, call (801) 563-7000
or log on to http://jobs.utah.gov/services/financial/fep.asp.
For more information about food stamps, call 1-(866)-526-3663
or log on to http://jobs.utah.gov/services/foodstamp/food.asp.
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 Utah 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 Medicaid or CHIP,
call 1-800-662-9651 (Medicaid) or 1-888-222-2542 (CHIP).
Relative caregivers also may log on to http://www.health.state.ut.us.
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 (Utah Code Ann. § 78-14-5): This law allows
a qualified adult acting in loco parentis, formally or informally,
to consent to any medical care not prohibited by law, on behalf
of the minor child.
Enrollment (Utah Code Ann. § 53A-2-201(3)(A)): This
law defines a child’s school district of residence to be where
custodial parent or legal guardian resides, or the school
district where the child resides, if the child resides with
a "responsible adult". A responsible adult must be a resident
of the district and “the noncustodial parent, grandparent,
brother, sister, uncle, or aunt” of the child. The district,
however, may require the person with whom the child lives
to be formally designated as the child's custodian through
a power of attorney.