According to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), “One in 12 American children is living in a household headed by a grandparent or other relative [2000 Census data]. In many of these homes, grandparents and other relatives have become the primary caregivers, or kinship caregivers, for children whose parents cannot or will not care for them due to substance abuse, illness, child abuse and neglect, economic hardship, incarceration, divorce, domestic violence, and other serious problems.
In providing a vital safety net for children, grandparents and other relative caregivers often face serious challenges as they try to find health care or child care for the children they are raising, apply for public benefits, enroll the children in school, and address their basic needs…
Despite the enormous challenges they face, kinship caregivers understandably may be afraid to ask strangers for the help they need because they are embarrassed about their family situations or are afraid that their children will be taken away from them. Grandparents and other relative caregivers may be much more likely to reach out to local churches, community centers, and other trusted organizations…”
The CDF has compiled an excellent set of resources for advocates, professionals, and faith-based organizations to support kinship caregivers, including their Kinship Care Resource Kit, and information on subsidized guardianship programs, at CDF Kinship Care.