January 27, 2022
Grandfamilies Alert
Hello Friends of Grandfamilies,

You are receiving this email because you are a GRAND Voice or because you are a Grandfamilies Advisory Group Member. We are transitioning our biweekly updates to Constant Contact and hope this will improve your experience receiving them. If you have any concerns or something you would like included in the next alert please reach out to me at droznowski@gu.org.

Best,
Diane and the Grandfamilies Team
Top News
We’re Hiring - Generations United’s National Center on Grandfamilies is seeking an Assistant Director to join our results-oriented team. Learn more here.
 Free At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits - Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of #4 free at-home tests from the federal government through the United States Postal Service at https://special.usps.com/testkits
The FosterClub All-Star Internship Program is accepting applications for its summer program. Interns receive leadership training, help improve outcomes for youth transitioning out of care, educate peers and industry professionals, and change public perceptions about foster youth across the nation. Eligible young people must be between the ages 18 and 24 and have first-hand experience in the child welfare system/foster care. Applications are due by February 15th. For more information, visit https://www.fosterclub.com/what-we-do/young-leaders/all-star-internship
Events
Buffering Intergenerational Trauma: Child Well-Being and Community-Based Resilience is scheduled for Tuesday, February 1, kicking off (virtually) at 10:00 a.m. PST. Information from the event organizers:
 
We are thrilled to present developmental scientist Dr. Kandace Thomas as the featured speaker. Passionately committed to her work at the intersection of research, policy, and practice in the field of early childhood and infant mental health, her focus is squarely on racial and social justice. Dr. Thomas is nationally recognized for her innovative work in child development, diversity-informed practice, and mindfulness. She brings an array of strength and community-based research and practices to support children and families – and those who work with them.  
 
We are delighted that Dr. Benjamin Danielson, uncommon community leader and pediatrician extraordinaire, will join our gathering once again. We look forward to Dr. Ben’s keen ability to help us examine this time we are collectively experiencing. Dr Ben will offer thoughts regarding a focus on community abundance rather than only deficits and scarcity. He’ll lead a panel from the community to share their insights and examples of community-centered practices that promote resilience. They include Shivon Brite from Empire Health Foundation, Keoki Kauanoe from Family Education & Support Services, and Dr. Kristina Lovato from California State University. 
Attendees will come away inspired and equipped with tools, practices, and strategies for facilitating healing and building resilience. We can’t wait to welcome you to this year’s gathering on February 1!
Please feel free to forward this email. Learn more and register here.
Resources
 
There are 2.6 million children in the United States growing up in grandfamilies, meaning they are raised by relatives or family friends without their parents in the home. While grandfamilies are of all geographic locations, socio-economic levels, and races/ethnicities, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native children are the most likely to be in grandfamilies. Grandfamilies arise out of events that separate children from their parents, such as death, including from COVID-19, substance use, incarceration, mental illness, divorce, or military deployment. The systems and services that help U.S. families — in areas such as housing, education, and health care — were not designed for grandfamilies. For grandfamily caregivers, something as simple as enrolling children in school or taking them to the doctor can be difficult, if not impossible. The way our country determines the quality and level of support for families is unjust, and too often services are obsolete. They exclude the needs of children growing up in grandfamilies and make America’s racial disparities worse.
 
This year’s annual State of Grandfamilies report highlights how the systems and services that help U.S. families were not designed for grandfamilies, leaving children and caregivers in these families with inequitable access to key resources to help their families thrive. The report highlights include updated national and state data on grandfamilies and key recommendations to address inequities and provide critical supports to serve grandfamilies well. Read the report here.
 
The Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren delivered its initial report to Congress. The report is a culmination of a two-year, multi-faceted effort that gathered information from kin and grandparent caregivers of children across the country. It provides an overview of the many complex issues faced by these families and recommendations for addressing them. The work of the Advisory Council is facilitated and supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
 
The 22 recommendations fall under five priority areas: 

  • Awareness of/Outreach to Kin and Grandparent Caregivers including increasing public understanding of the contributions kin and grandparent caregivers. 
  • Kin and Grandparent Caregiver Engagement to better integrate kin and grandparent caregivers into the child’s care team.
  • Services and Supports for Kinship Families and Grandfamilies including increasing access to information, services, and supports like respite care, child care, counseling, and more.
  • Financial and Workplace Security for Kin and Grandparent Caregivers to promote policies that prevent them from being financially disadvantaged and adopting workplace policies, flexibilities, and practices that recognize their caregiving responsibilities. 
  • Research, Data, and Evidence-Supported Practices to establish a national approach for obtaining, analyzing, disseminating, and applying relevant data on kinship families and grandfamilies.
 
The report also includes a snapshot of federally funded efforts to support kinship families and grandfamilies. Together—with the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council’s initial report to Congress recently released in September—these reports offer a comprehensive examination of the experiences, needs and concerns of family caregivers. 
 
During the past several decades, political unrest, economic conditions, U.S. intervention, wars, environmental disasters, and violence in Latin American countries have propelled millions of individuals to seek a more secure life for themselves and their families in the United States. The arrival of immigrants and their U.S.-born children has been a major component of Latino population growth and diversity. Culturally appropriate services are needed to support Latino families as they navigate kinship care placements, which appeal to the family system fundamental to Latino culture.
 
This toolkit provides cultural context and concrete recommendations to fill a critical gap to help organizations and individuals across the country enhance their understanding and skills to help children and caregivers in grandfamilies thrive. The concrete tools include:
 
  • Information on the diversity of Latinos and how to serve them with cultural competence that leverages their many strengths
  • The benefits and strengths of preserving and restoring cultural identity
  • Practice and policy recommendations for addressing systemic racism and biases that limit existing support to Latino grandfamilies and the children they raise
COVID-19 Vaccines
 
On November 2, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that children ages 5-11 be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine is available in your community, you can look for a location by going to www.vaccines.gov. Getting everyone in your family over the age of 5 vaccinated against COVID, especially before the holidays, can support safe family gatherings that minimize the risk of disruptions in life, including in-person learning for children and teens. Additionally, it helps to control the spread of disease in your community. 
 
The vaccines against COVID-19 are safe, continue to be monitored, and are effective at protecting against serious illness, hospitalization, and long-term complications. Booster shots are also available for some adults; to check if you are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot visit you can visit CDC’s website here. Also, don’t forget to get everyone the flu vaccine to protect your family of all ages and be sure to catch-up on all routine pediatric and adult vaccines. For more information on all vaccines recommended for children and adults, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

As the number of people and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic grows, so do the scams associated with it. Scammers use public health emergencies as opportunities for new fraud schemes, and because older adults are at greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19, they may target older populations. www.smpresource.org
Share Your Perspective
Family Voices United Opportunity to Share Your Perspective

Each month, we present an opportunity to Share Your Perspective (SYP). These stories are gathered and published in a SYP Paper, which can be a great way to engage and advocate at the local, national and state level.

The National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council (NPC) is looking for young people (age 18+) who've experienced foster care, kinship care, or out-of-home care to share your experiences in care! The Council has 2 polls open NOW: 
 
  1. Did you ever interact with the police while in foster care or experience the juvenile justice system while in foster care or out of home care? Take this poll: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CWWVX9C
  2. Do you have experience with immigration and out of home care care? Take this poll: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8CHKQT3
 
In these polls, the Council want to know what challenges or successes you experienced while in care. The Council uses these polls to educate stakeholders on how policies and procedures impact young people in foster care and out of home care. Please consider taking 15 minutes out of your day to fill out the anonymous poll. After completing, you can enter to win a $100 gift card!