When GrandFamilies Of America was designing this link, we hoped that with the general contents of this site combined with this page, to provide those accessing the site with a one stop shop of education/tools on the most up-to-date information for relative caregivers of children and those trying to help them.
When Sharon and I first began our journey of becoming recycled parents and raising our relative children many years ago, we faced all of the same barriers/obstacles that all relative caregivers face, but the difference was then, there was no help for us. In fact there was little known about our population until the 2000 census ripped the lid off what I like to refer to as the best kept secret on planet earth.
Since that time, thankfully there are many forces at work across the country trying to help our population, but GrandFamilies Of America strongly believes since we were there at the beginning trying to give a voice to our population, that we can say with some reliability that there were seven main national organizations that stepped up to the plate and have stood shoulder to shoulder with us and continue to do so to this day. Below you will find links to those organizations that we believe have collectively been behind gaining respect for this enormous population and the relative children they are raising. We encourage you to familiarize your self with the contents of their sites with the links provided here on each one and combined with the contents of our site, we hope to have provided you with a complete over view of all things relevant to our population and in so doing given you a jump start in your own personal journey. Of course feel free to contact us for further assistance.
(GrandFamilies Of America was proud to help CLASP celebrate 40 years of helping children and families across the country in 2010, Rutledge Hudson and Tiffany Conway have worked side by side with us, and we are very thankful to them for that)
Center for Law and Social PolicyCLASP develops and advocates for policies at the federal, state and local levels that improve the lives of low-income people. We focus on policies that strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy, we develop and promote new ideas, mobilize others, and directly assist governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America. For more information on CLASP, please visit www.clasp.org
CLASP is a national non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of low-income people through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy. CLASP develops and promotes new ideas, mobilizes others and directly assists governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America. As part of this work we have long partnered with Grandfamilies of America and other kinship caregivers to help achieve positive change for kinship families. Working hand in hand with fellow advocates we have experienced great success with the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. We look forward to continued collaboration toward additional needed improvements for kinship families.
CLASP's child welfare work seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect and to ameliorate the trauma experienced by children who are maltreated. We promote policies that help families deal with and keep children safely at home or with family members whenever possible as well as those that improve foster care when that is necessary. This includes policies that promote the placement of children in foster care with relatives when appropriate and those that help children move to permanency, including with relatives who become legal guardians for children who cannot return to their parents.
You can access information about supporting kinship families involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the child welfare system here.
On the CLASP website you will find a variety of resources including summaries of relevant legislation, presentations on a range of topics as well as fact sheets and other resources that may be useful education and advocacy tools. You will also find contact information to help connect you to experts on a variety of topics that are important to kinship families including things like child care and early education, temporary assistance, family supports and child welfare.
(Although Childfocus has been operating just since 2007, Mary Bissell and Jennifer Miller have been advocating for children and families on many levels for many years. GrandFamilies Of America are honored to have participated in their research projects over the years)
ChildFocus is a national consulting firm specializing in policy advocacy, strategic planning, organizational development and government relations on a broad array of child and family policy issues. Launched in 2007 by Mary Bissell and Jennifer Miller, ChildFocus strives to forge connections with and between talented people, programs that are making a difference, and effective policies to support vulnerable children and their families. Their work is geared toward developing real world solutions to the complex issues that public agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations, and coalitions face as they seek to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families. For more information on ChildFocus, please visit www.childfocuspartners.com.
ChildFocus® helps a broad range of clients, including public and private agencies, non-profit organizations, and foundations develop practical, mission-driven and results-oriented strategies. Through our vast network of child and family advocates, policy makers, and child welfare practitioners, we have the unique ability to bring a human face to today’s most compelling social issues. In partnership with our clients, we translate complex ideas into clear, effective messages that engage and inspire a variety of audiences.
Mary Bissell is an attorney and policy expert on a variety of issues affecting children and families. Most recently, she was selected as the Casey Family Programs’ Fellow at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy institute, where she wrote and lectured widely on child welfare policy issues and remains a non-resident fellow.
Mary is a former senior staff attorney and lobbyist at the Children’s Defense Fund. Prior to CDF, she was a Heinz Fellow and Legislative Assistant in the Office of Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) where she worked on child welfare, child support, and dependency court legislation. Mary began her career as an Equal Justice Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia where she founded the nation’s first legal services program exclusively for grandparents and other relative caregivers. While at Legal Aid, she directed the DC Kinship Care Coalition, a grassroots advocacy organization she founded.
Mary has published extensively in a broad range of publications including The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, and Philadelphia Inquirer. She has spoken on CNN, the TODAY Show, NBC and National Public Radio.
Mary is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and Georgetown University Law Center. She is a member of the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Supreme Court Bars. She lives with her husband, Hedrick Belin, their two children, and the family’s unruly dog in Silver Spring, Maryland
Jennifer Miller, a social worker and child advocate, has more than 20 years of experience in program planning and policy and analysis. Blending her previous work with private foundations and public agencies, Jennifer is an expert in innovative child welfare practice.
Jennifer spent the last 10 years at Cornerstone Consulting, where she was responsible for a growing focus on innovations in child welfare policy and practice.
At Cornerstone, she developed and led the National Collaboration for Permanency through Subsidized Guardianship, a multi-year project aimed at promoting subsidized guardianship as a valued permanency option for children. She also led the child welfare workforce agenda for Cornerstones for Kids, developed training materials on permanency decision-making, and analyzed federal child welfare waivers.
Prior to joining Cornerstone, Miller worked with the Annie E. Casey Foundation on a broad range of children’s issues. She also worked at the American Public Welfare Association (now the American Public Human Services Association) where she helped develop, analyze and implement federal legislation and regulations on child welfare issues. She was also project manager for the National Association of Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA).
Jennifer has a B.A. in Political Science from St. Lawrence University and an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. A CASA volunteer, she currently lives in Warwick, Rhode Island with her husband and their two daughters.
(Children’s Defense Fund under the foundership of Marian Wright Edelman and the able leadership of Mary Lee Allen, who GrandFamilies of America to be the matriarch of relative kinship care, have constantly worked to make this country better for children and their families)
The Children's Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. The Children's Defense Fund works with grandparents and other relative caregivers, young leaders, other advocates for children and families, the faith community, service providers and policymakers across the country to help accomplish its mission for all children in America. For more information on the Children’s Defense Fund, please visit www.childrensdefense.org.
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families. The Children's Defense Fund's Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
Mrs. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. For two years she served as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in l973 began CDF.
Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children; Stand for Children; Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors; Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind; I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children; and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.
She is a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Association to Benefit Children, and is a member of the Selection Committee of the Profiles in Courage Award of the John F. Kennedy Library, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Marian Wright Edelman is married to Peter Edelman, a Professor at Georgetown Law School. They have three sons, Joshua, Jonah, and Ezra, two granddaughters, Ellika and Zoe, and two grandsons, Elijah and Levi.
Director of Child Welfare & Mental Health for Children’s Defense Fund
MaryLee Allen is Director of Child Welfare and Mental Health at the Children's Defense Fund. Ms. Allen is responsible for defining and advancing CDF's agenda to keep children safe in nurturing families and communities. Her work focuses on improving policies and practices to better support families in order to prevent problems from occurring and family crises from intensifying and to promote permanent families for children. Her work addresses child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, foster care and adoption.
Ms. Allen has played a leadership role in the development, passage and implementation of major child welfare and children's mental health reforms over the past two decades. She co-chairs, with the Child Welfare League of America, a coalition of national child welfare and mental health organizations and works closely with advocates and service providers across the country. She testifies frequently before Congress.
Ms. Allen has authored and co-authored many articles and publications, including:
· Helping Children by Strengthening Families: A Look at Family Support Programs
· Healing the Whole Family: A Look at Family Care Programs
· Healthy Ties: Ensuring Health Coverage for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives
· Expanding Permanency Options for Children: A Guide to Subsidized Guardianship Programs
· Kinship Care Resource Kit for Community and Faith-Based Organizations
Ms. Allen has served on many boards, task forces and advisory committees, including the boards of Generations United, Parents as Teachers National Center, and Family Support America. She also served on the Advisory Committee for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges' publication, Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice. Ms. Allen received her B.A. from Marquette University and her M.S.W. from the National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America.
"Safe Haven or Last Resort?" (includes video) CBS Evening News, November 14, 2008
Generations United (We have had the pleasure of working with Executive Director, Donna Butts, and Deputy Director, Jaia Lent, for many years as they have successfully blended the issues of seniors and children through their intergenerational approach. GrandFamilies across the country are better served because of the voice they bring to the issues.)
Generations United is the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies.
We represent more than 100 national, state, and local organizations representing more than 70 million Americans. Since 1986, Generations United has served as a resource for policymakers and the public on the economic, social, and personal imperatives of intergenerational cooperation.
We act as a catalyst for stimulating collaboration among aging, children, and youth organizations, providing a forum to explore areas of common ground while celebrating the richness of each generation.
Generations United's National Center on Grandfamilies works to enact policies and promote programs to help grandfamilies. Despite facing many barriers, research shows that the children in grandfamilies thrive. Caregivers also experience benefits like an increased sense of purpose in life. Generations United’s websites features information on current policies and programs that help grandfamilies in a range of areas including: housing, education, health, legal and financial issues and the recently enacted Fostering Connections Act.
Visit www.gu.org and click on Grandfamilies.
(GrandFamilies Of America is indebted to all three of these organization for their tireless efforts on behalf of relatives and the relative children in their care over many years. Leadership at Generations United have previously been identified, but our close collaborative partner and friend at the American Bar Association, is Heidi Redlich)
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, a collaboration with Casey Family Programs, Heidi Redlich with American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law and Generations United, serves as a national training and technical assistance resource created to educate individuals about state laws and legislation in support of grandfamilies and to assist interested state legislators, advocates, caregivers, attorneys, and other policymakers in exploring policy options to support relatives and the children in their care both within and outside the child welfare system. Additionally, the Resource Center staff provides technical assistance to states and national organizations to assist with implementation of the kinship provisions of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. For more information on The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, please visit www.grandfamilies.org.
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center is collaboration between Casey Family Programs, the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law and Generations United.
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center serves as a national legal resource created to educate individuals about state laws and legislation in support of grandfamilies and to assist interested state legislators, advocates, caregivers, attorneys, and other policymakers in exploring policy options to support relatives and the children in their care both within and outside the child welfare system. This resource center consists of a searchable database of current laws and pending legislation; topical analyses, which include summaries and comparisons of state laws, legislative trends, and practical advocacy and implementation information; powerful personal stories from grandfamilies; and other relevant internet resources. Additionally, the ABA and Generations United staff are available to provide technical assistance and training to state policymakers and advocates or other interested parties.
Please note that only statutes and legislation are contained in this database. This website is a work in progress. Materials not yet included are: regulations, policy manuals, and information about practices. Additionally, not all statutes or legislation for each category listed are incorporated. If you are aware of a current statute, piece of legislation, or other materials that should be included on this website, please send them to us as we are hoping to expand this website in the future. These materials can be sent via email to Ken Bryson at Generations United at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey Family Programs, ABA, and Generations United gratefully acknowledge support from Annie E. Casey and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Legal Research conducted courtesy of Westlaw.
(GrandFamilies of America would like to thank our lead collaborative partner on relatives raising relative children with the American Bar Association, Heidi Redlich. Thanks Heidi for your dedication and loyalty.
The American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, a program of the Young Lawyers Division, aims to improve children's lives through advances in law, justice, knowledge, practice and public policy. Our areas of expertise include child abuse and neglect, child welfare and protective services system enhancement, foster care, family preservation, termination of parental rights, parental substance abuse, adolescent health, and domestic violence. For more information on The American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law please visit, www.abanet.org/child.
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center is a collaboration between Casey Family Programs, the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law and Generations United.
Casey Family Programs (CFP) is a nationally accredited Washington nonprofit corporation, whose mission is to provide, improve and ultimately to prevent the need for foster care. CFP provides services to children, youth and families, and works with child welfare and other public systems to: help reduce the number of youth in foster care in this country by 50%; reinvest savings from reduced foster care populations to strengthen the system and vulnerable families; and increase the safety and self-sufficiency of youth aging out of foster care as demonstrated by improved education, employment and mental health outcomes.
The ABA Center on Children and the Law (The Center), a program of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, aims to improve children's lives through advances in law, justice, knowledge, practice and public policy. The ABA Center’s areas of expertise include child abuse and neglect, child welfare and protective services system enhancement, relative care, foster care, family preservation, termination of parental rights, parental substance abuse, adolescent health, and other child protective legal issues. The ABA Fund for Justice and Education (“Fund for Justice”) was created to support ABA programs such as programs and services that advocate for children and family rights.
Generations United (GU) is the countries only not for profit membership organization promoting intergenerational public policies, programs, and strategies. GU has been at the forefront of national efforts to support grandfamilies, convening three national expert symposiums on the issues impacting these families, which have provided the blueprints for GU and other organizations to support grandfamilies. Over the years, GU and its National Center on Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children has been guided by its grandparent advisory group and has collaborated to implement the agendas by developing and promoting programs and policies through trainings, federal and state legislative testimony and briefings, publications, and technical assistance.
This collaboration was formed to create a national Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center (The Resource Center). The Resource Center serves as a national legal resource created to educate individuals about state laws, legislation and policy in support of grandfamilies and to assist interested state legislators, advocates, caregivers, attorneys, and other policymakers in exploring policy options to support relatives and the children in their care both within and outside the child welfare system.
Although AARP’S grandparent resource center is no longer in operation, for many years they were a great resource to those of us who were/are walking the walk of relative caregivers of relative children. The resource center under the direction of Amy Goyer supported all three of the GrandRallies in 2003, 2005, and 2008, as did all of the organizations listed here on this resource page. Amy is currently serving AARP in the capacity of Family Exoert. In that role she provides on line resurces for grandparents in all roles, such as grandparent babysitter, grandparent custodian, grandparent(s) vacationing with grandchildren, etc. She has established on line groups where grandparents can talk to each other on a variety of subjects. She has also written a book on fun things to do with your grandchildren. You can avail yourself of this wonderful resource by going to www.aarp.org/relationships/grandparents
Casey Family Programs has been working in the background for years, helping our organization and those mentioned here through financial support, which has enabled us to be successful in our endeavors.www.casey.org