The Network Connection

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 3 | JUNE 2022

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

Since our last newsletter, we have held two more virtual convenings. On May 25, we brought together representatives from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. On June 7, we participated in a tribal convening led by our partner, the National Indian Child Welfare Association. We are continuing to enjoy having the opportunity to share and learn with and from you, and we continue to look forward to our upcoming convenings and to future collaboration.

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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Read All About Us!

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published an article profiling our work, "New Nonprofit Center Helps Children Who Are Being Cared For by Their Kin." Interviews with Karyne Jones and Sarah Kastelic, the heads of two of our partner organizations, as well as Ali Caliendo, the executive director of Foster Kinship, a nonprofit kinship navigator organization in Nevada, provide important context for our efforts. Donna Butts, the executive director of Generations United, and Ana Beltran, the director of the Network, are also featured in the article.

What's New From the Network?

"Grandfamilies y Kinship Families: Fortalezas y Desafíos"

Hoja Informativa

The "Grandfamilies and Kinship Families: Strengths and Challenges" Fact Sheet is now available in Spanish!

A Latino grandfather sits on the couch with his granddaughter and grandson, and the grandmother leans over them
Two photos; in the photo on top, a Black grandmother and grandfather cook with their grandson and granddaughter; in the second photo, a white grandmother eats a cherry being fed to her by her young granddaughter

"Honoring Kinship and Grandfamilies: Join the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network"

By Alexandra Ashbrook

Alexandra Ashbrook is a Network Subject Matter Expert and Director of Root Causes and Specific Populations at the Food Research and Action Center. This blog post puts a spotlight on the Network and provides action steps for those who are interested in helping to spread the word and those who want to discuss opportunities and obstacles related to connecting grandfamilies and kinship families to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other federal nutrition programs.


Kinship Caregiver's Guide: How to Support Older Youth with Foster Care Experience Through Co-Regulation

Developed By Child Trends

Child Trends is one of the Network's five managing partner organizations. In February, the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation in the Administration for Children & Families published a brief report that is meant to be used by kinship caregivers. The document defines co-regulation and offers both general and specific examples to help caregivers utilize the methods of co-regulation in their daily lives.

Two photos; in the photo on top, a white teen girl stands outside with her arm around a white female adult, with a white male adult standing on her other side and the man and the smiling teen looking at the woman, who is also smiling; in the picture on the bottom, an older Black couple smiles while sitting on a couch with their arms around three smiling Black teenagers

Individual Technical Assistance Spotlight

An orange icon with two speech bubbles. The first speech bubble contains a question mark and the second contains a check mark.

The Network is accepting individual technical assistance (TA) requests from professionals who work in systems and 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.

Here's an example TA request and response.

Request: What are some evidence-informed trainings I can offer to grandfamilies and kinship families?

Response: One of our national partners, ZERO TO THREE, offers a training called Grand Connections. This program consists of seven workshops, each of which is 90 minutes (including a 30-minute intergenerational activity). This is geared toward caregivers with children from birth to five and focuses on early childhood development. Topics include sleep, mealtime, screen time, discipline, early learning, adverse childhood experiences, and communicating with the grandchild’s parent. The training is free and can be found on ZERO TO THREE's website. ZERO TO THREE also recommends PASTA (Parenting A Second Time Around). PASTA originated at Cornell and has been around for a long time. More details on PASTA from an outside organization are available from The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare.

Upcoming Presentations About the Network

We are hitting the road to spread the word about the Network. On Monday, July 11, two of our team members will be presenting, at two separate conferences:

  • From 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. CT, Ana Beltran, the Network's director, will join USAging's Meredith Hanley to present "Research and Resources for Supporting Grandfamilies and Kinship Families." This presentation will take place during USAging's Answers on Aging Conference and Tradeshow in Austin, Texas. Check out the conference agenda to learn more!

  • From 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT, Jaia Lent, the deputy executive director of Generations United, will participate in a panel at the Southern Legislative Conference, which will take place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, under the auspices of the Council of State Governments Southern Office. The panel is called "Protecting Vulnerable Populations: It's for the Children." Read the description of Policy Session 8 on the agenda to learn more!

What's New Around the Network?

GRANDfamilies at Children's Service Society of Utah Celebrates 20 Years of Service

Utah's GRANDfamilies program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and opening their 5th office location in Southern Utah.

Beginning with case management services and support groups, GRANDfamilies has since expanded services to include not only case management and psycho-educational support groups, but monthly Friend 2 Friends, clinical services, and additional caregiver support groups.

Since 2002, GRANDfamilies has served over 2,600 families.

Two photos, with the word "Congratulations!" angled between them; in the top photo, a social worker speaks to an older couple, and the people in the couple are holding hands, in the photo on the bottom, a grandmother nuzzes noses with her granddaughter
A grandmother uses a bottle to feed her infant grandchild

The USDA Is Offering Infant Formula Flexibility and Waivers

Amidst the infant formula shortage, the Food and Nutrition Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced temporary policy flexibility and waivers to help families and WIC agencies. Two recent press releases highlight these offerings. To learn more, click on the titles of the press releases, which are below.

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.