The Network Connection


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Logo of the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network: A National Technical Assistance Center

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Network Connection, the newsletter from the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network (Network)! You can expect to receive this newsletter in the third week of every month.

At the beginning of this month, we began conducting individual meetings with each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each call aims to bring together representatives from that jurisdiction's agencies on aging, child welfare, disability, education, housing, Medicaid/Medicare, nutrition, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); kinship navigators; nonprofit providers; and, crucially, caregivers. So far, we have met with half of the jurisdictions on our list, and we are learning a lot about practices that are worth elevating and common areas of interest and concern. These lessons will help to inform our upcoming virtual regional convenings and work.

We are excited to use this newsletter to share the work of the people, systems, and organizations in the Network. Please share your latest news, upcoming events, and highlights with us. They may be featured in our next newsletter!

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Convening Registration is Open!

If you registered for and/or participated in a meeting with Network staff, you should have received a thank you email, including a link to register for your virtual regional convening. We invite you to register and join us! If you did not receive the email, please contact Maari Weiss.

What's New?

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"Kinship Caregiving Options: Considerations for Caregivers"


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT

Please join us for a webinar, free of charge, to explore a new tool developed by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, Children’s Defense Fund, and Generations United. The tool is designed to help kinship families and the professionals who assist them to compare caregiving options. Kinship Caregiving Options: Considerations for Caregivers provides an overview of the choices and considerations to help caregivers both inside and outside the child welfare system make informed decisions about the pathways to pursue.

You must register in advance to attend this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email.


Kinship Navigator Funding Application

The Administration for Children and Families has released the fiscal year 2022 application for kinship navigator funding. Applications are due by May 20. For more information, see the PDFs linked below.

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A girl leans on her grandmother and hugs her

North Carolina Kinship Treatment Family Care Pilot Program

The North Carolina Kinship Treatment Family Care Program, funded by the Duke Endowment, "work[s] in partnership with public and private partners in North Carolina to address the therapeutic needs of children and youth being cared for by kinship caregivers." It includes staff training and an interactive learning community.


Individual Technical Assistance

The Network is accepting individual technical assistance (TA) requests from professionals who work in systems or organizations that serve kinship families. To request TA, please either complete the online contact form from Generations United or email Shalah Bottoms, our technical assistance specialist.

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Here's an example TA request and response.

Request: A kinship navigator in the Northeast reached out to ask how to help grandparent caregivers who are in the final stages of life to plan for their grandchildren's continued care and inheritance.

Response: We shared a resource that Generations United helped to prepare for Washington state caregivers. While Washington-specific, we told the kinship navigator that basic principles apply regardless of where the caregiver lives. Caregivers who want their grandchildren to inherit their home or any other assets should have a will naming the grandchildren as their heirs. In general, without a will, the grandparent’s assets will go to their next of kin. Often, adult children are the automatic next of kin, not grandchildren. 

The caregivers should also create a plan for their grandchildren’s successor caregivers. This plan will look very different based on the legal relationship, if any, that the caregiver has with the children. For example, a caregiver who has adopted a child can name a guardian in their will, just like any parent. 

If there is no legal relationship between the grandparent and the grandchildren, identifying a kinship caregiver to step in the caregiver's shoes and expressing those wishes in writing can be helpful, even if not legally binding. As part of this planning, caregivers should pull together all documents showing that they are raising the children (e.g., school and health care records where the caregiver is named or their address is listed as the children’s address, tax returns where the children are listed as the caregiver’s dependents, and/or TANF child-only grants or other benefits received for the children). Also, if the children and the caregiver are related, collect birth certificates or other family records showing how the caregiver is related to the children.

News to Know

"As Families Grieve, Grandparents Step Up"

New York Times

This article, published on April 12, uses both anecdotes and statistics to describe the strengths of and challenges faced by grandfamilies, focusing on grandfamilies that have formed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The article cites statistics from Generations United and quotes Executive Director Donna Butts.

"UAPB Project Supports Local Grandparents Who Raise Grandchildren"


The School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has an innovative new program for grandparents and the grandchildren they are raising. The program, which engages both generations, will help participants to gain skills in gardening, teamwork, learning and teaching, communication, and computers. A $60,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture supports this project, which is carried out through a partnership with the Pine Bluff First Assembly of God and the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Jefferson County Extension Service.

The Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network is the first-ever national technical assistance center for those who serve grandfamilies and kinship families. It was created to help guide lasting, systemic reforms. The Network is a new way to collaborate, to work across jurisdictional and systemic boundaries, to eliminate silos, and to help one another and be helped in return. Thank you for being part of it.

Generations United Logo

The Network is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $9,950,000 with 95 percentage funded by ACL/HHS and $523,684 and 5 percentage funded by non-government sources. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.