GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 19

grandfamilies
Regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum,
families and their well-being unite us. Over the
last 20 years doing federal advocacy for grandfamilies,
even in the most divisive times, Congress has quietly
sought to improve support for these families. While
much remains to be done, we must also take time to
celebrate how long we have come and shine the light
on bipartisan actions designed to help support these
extended family members who step up and raise children
when parents cannot, often with little to no support.
Here are just some of the accomplishments in
the last two decades:
- Three major federal child welfare bills became
law and included improvements to help grandfamilies
including: funding kinship navigators programs,
addressing barriers to licensing relatives as foster parents,
and prioritizing that children be placed with relatives
instead of strangers when possible if they cannot
be cared for by their parents.
- Federal intergenerational housing legislation
funded housing specifically designed for grandparents
raising grandchildren.
- The Federal Supporting Grandparents Raising
Grandchildren Advisory Council was established and
released a report to Congress with recommendations
to better support the families
- The federal National Family Caregiver Support
program made grandfamilies eligible for supportive
caregiver services from local Area Agencies on Aging
- Congress authorized the National Technical
Assistance Center on Grandparents and Kinship
Families.
But there remains much to be done. The availability
of support and services varies widely across
19 GRAND Summer 2022
Congress has united behind grandfamilies over the
last two decades and they are signaling a commitment
to come together again to support them. You can
help by contacting your members of Congress and
asking them to take action to help grandparents raise
grandchildren.
the country. Those that exist may not be sensitive
to cultural differences and ways to adapt them
to reach and effectively serve diverse populations.
Grandparents who step up to keep children out of
foster care continue to have far less access to support
and services for the children compared to traditional
foster parents.
"
Regardless of where one falls
on the political spectrum, families
and their well-being unite us.
Share the recommendations from the hearing and
let them know about these bills to help the families:
* Informing Grandfamilies Act S. 4443 helps inform
grandfamilies about financial supports
* CARE for KIDS Act S. 1590, H.R. 3997 improves
access to free and reduced-price school meals for
grandfamilies
* Grandfamilies Housing Act H.R. 3111, S. 2179 -
creates more housing for grandfamilies
* The Grandfamilies Act S. 4488 improves access to
benefits, funds peer supports, and promotes coordination
of services for grandfamilies.
"
Witness Executive Director Donna Butts explained
in the hearing, " When parents are unable to raise their
children, grandparents and extended family step up and
wrap children in the protective cocoon of family, providing
roots and connection to culture, keeping siblings
under one roof, and showering children with the one
thing money cannot buy - love. They cannot and should
not have to do this alone and without our support. "
Learn who your members of Congress are and how
to contact them here: https://www.congress.gov/.
Despite the common media narrative about the
division in our nation, a commitment to the family can
and will continue to unite us as a community and a
country. As grandparents, you are and can continue
to be central figures bringing unity through action to
support your fellow grandparents.
Jaia Peterson Lent is Deputy Executive
Director of Generations United,
a national organization dedicated
to improving lives. Home to the
National Center on Grandfamilies,
Generations United is a leading voice
for issues affecting families headed by
grandparents or other relatives.
Continued on next page
https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine https://twitter.com/grandmmagazine?lang=en https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/4443?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22informing+grandfamilies+act%22%2C%22informing%22%2C%22grandfamilies%22%2C%22act%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1 https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1590?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22CARES+for+Kids+Act%22%5D%7D&s=2&r=2 https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3997 https://www.grandfamilies.org/Topics/Federal-Laws https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3111 https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2179 https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/4443?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22informing+grandfamilies+act%22%2C%22informing%22%2C%22grandfamilies%22%2C%22act%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1 https://www.congress.gov/ https://www.gu.org/resources/a-place-to-call-home-building-affordable-housing-for-grandfamilies/ https://www.gu.org/resources/a-place-to-call-home-building-affordable-housing-for-grandfamilies/ https://acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers/supporting-grandparents-raising-grandchildren-0 https://acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers/supporting-grandparents-raising-grandchildren-0 https://acl.gov/SGRG/report https://www.gu.org/projects/ntac-on-grandfamilies-and-kinship-families/ https://www.gu.org https://www.gu.org https://www.gu.org/projects/ntac-on-grandfamilies-and-kinship-families/ https://www.gu.org/projects/ntac-on-grandfamilies-and-kinship-families/ https://www.grandfamilies.org/

GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022

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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 3A
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