their tribes or
or any adult
with a kinship
bond with a
Who is doing it?
According to the US Census, approximately
200,000 children, about 1/3 of all children in
foster care are in the care of relatives.
More than 2 million grandparents are raising 4.5
million children, and other relatives are raising an
additional 1.5 million.
The Grandkids are Coming…Now what?!
Many elderly caregivers are now confronted with their golden years being transformed
from retirement and relaxation, to a second go at parenting due to losses.
From Grieving Child to POTUS…
Kinship care is not new, we can harness the power of extended family to build
stronger programs, and interventions.
Feelings Associated with Kinship Care
Worry Loss of control
Concerns of the Elderly Caregiver
Parents Elderly Caregivers
Family history Own health issues
New to parenting Legal issues
Feelings associated Family history
with birth/addition Feelings of
Losses Associated with Kinship Care
Substance Abuse Issues
Blended families due to finances, or health issues
Removal from home due to abuse/neglect
How we hurt…
Not respecting the age Not paying attention to
or status of the cultural cues.
caregiver. Not providing for “old
Stereotypes. school”/low to no tech
Assumptions about age. methods of
nature of loss. Not enough face to face
or define loss.
The “New Jack” Grandparent
Does not fit into stereotypical “granny/gramps” role
Has improved life outcomes.
May have own blended family, parenting history
Own history of abuse/loss/guilt about first time
Own grief journey.
Multiple approaches Practice
Flexibility Time management
Networking Redefinition of
Families in Therapy
Goal: Create a safe and non-judgmental space for
sharing, and for creating “story”.
Group work is a resource for helping kids and their
families put their story and history in perspective.
Should intrinsically support whatever that storyline is.
Loss is a defining factor in how a child/teen creates
their identity, and develops a script for resilience and
for finding their place in the world at large.
Grandparents/Kinship caregivers can promote
incredible levels of sharing, and of filling holes for
Mommy • Main Caregiver
“Granny” • Significant
“Cissy” • Strong Sibling
11 years Role
old • Other older kids
Adults, (may be
What is the family stance on secrets?
How does secret impact functioning?
Many families will only seek help from others when
secrets have come out, and become crisis proportions.
Many elderly caregivers have little, to no tools for
“talking” it out.
Due to culture
Beliefs about role of kids in families
Taboo or stigma attached to loss/change.
Practitioner has huge role in creating a safe place for
Must understand the history of, and power of “codes”.
What is the family or child/teen’s definition of “protection”?
Who gets hurt/helped by the secret?
Your role is not to tell the secret; but to facilitate the safety of
sharing, or to prepare the family for the consequences of not
How we help…
Second-time Parent Support Groups
Offer services to law enforcement and victim’s advocacy
Referral sources and resource links on websites and in
Teach communication skills.
Reunification preparation/goal definition.
Education and awareness building on grief experience for
elder care agencies and parent/caregivers.
Support Network Identification
Communication Skill Building
Enhanced resource lists
Age-appropriate Speaks to myth and
Pays attention to detail reality
Speaks a kid’s/young Does not perpetuate
person’s language dangerous stereotypes
Colorful or messages.
Captures attention Honest
Has many different Simple
extensions. Allows for questions.
Involves the senses.
Easy to read
Resources in print &
Includes access points
Legal Homework helplines
Judicial Poison Control
Adoption Services Baby/child proofing
Foster care Party Planning
Juvenile Justice Special Needs
Addictions Support Therapists
Homelessness Services Health Departments
Support Respite Care/Daycare
Create and disseminate family-friendly calendars of your
events. Always provide for low, to no cost admissions for
Support and vote for initiatives that support urban
neighborhoods, parks, programming.
Make sure you address caregivers as they wish to be
addressed. Avoid over-familiarity, use of first names until
they tell you it is OK.
Check in often to see if the caregiver has resources, for
Regularly hold parenting education classes as a part of