This fact sheet is for professionals working within an array of government systems and nonprofit organizations that support (or want to support) kinship/grandfamilies. It highlights services that the Aging Network commonly offers, which could benefit the families you serve.
Introduction to Kinship Families and Grandfamilies
Kinship families, also known as grandfamilies, are families in which grandparents, other relatives, or close family friends are raising children whose parents are unable to do so.
While many kin/grandfamily caregivers experience great satisfaction and pride in taking on this important role, doing so can also be stressful and bring about challenges. About 66 percent of grandparent caregivers are age 55 or older and almost half are no longer in the work force. These retired and older caregivers likely experience financial strain, challenges in making their homes child-friendly, and feelings of social isolation from their peers who are no longer raising children.
About the Aging Network
The Aging Network is composed of federal, state, and local agencies and organizations that were established as part of the Older Americans Act. At the local level, the Aging Network is comprised of 614 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs, pronounced “triple A’s”) and more than 270 Title VI Native American Aging Programs (Title VI programs), as well as more than 20,000 local provider organizations. AAAs and Title VI programs serve every community across the nation, providing a range of services to support older adults, family caregivers, people with disabilities, and, increasingly, people who are 55 and older who are raising grandchildren or other relative children.
All AAAs offer a range of core services, including nutrition services, health and wellness programs, caregiver supports, elder rights/legal assistance, and other supportive services. Additionally, many AAAs and Title VI programs offer services specifically for kinship/grandfamilies.
Learn more from USAging about AAAs and Title VI programs
Check out the top 10 services offered by Title VI Native American Aging programs
Services and Supports for Kin/Grandfamily Caregivers
The list on the following page highlights services commonly available through the Aging Network that can help to support the needs of kin/grandfamily caregivers and children. Contact your local AAA or Title VI program to explore partnerships with them or to learn more about specific services that can help the kinship/grandfamilies you serve.
- Information and Assistance. AAAs and most Title VI programs offer these services, which can help kin/grandfamily caregivers connect with local supports. Kinship navigator programs (some run by AAAs) also help kin/grandfamily caregivers link to services.
- Caregiver Support. With funding from the National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Native American Caregiver Support Program, many AAAs and Title VI programs offer services for caregivers, including kin/grandfamily caregivers. Common services include support groups, trainings, and respite.
- In-Home Supportive Services. All AAAs and many Title VI programs provide in-home services, such as assistance with chores and personal care.
- Housing Assistance. AAAs provide or connect older adults and caregivers to local community partners who offer a range of housing, home modification, or repair services.
- Meal Programs. The Aging Network’s senior nutrition program offers older adults – including some kin/grandfamily caregivers – meals and socialization opportunities.
- Telephone Reassurance. The majority of Title VI programs and AAAs provide telephone reassurance and/or friendly visitors to older adults, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness.
- Health and Wellness Classes. Most AAAs and Title VI programs offer evidence-based chronic disease self-management classes.
- Transportation. AAAs and Title VI programs offer transportation to older adults or provide information about local transportation options.
To find AAAs and Title VI programs in the communities where you work, contact the Eldercare Locator, a federally funded public service, at 800-677-1116, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, or at eldercare.acl.gov