Full-time parenting by grandparents and other relatives is a growing phenomenon in the United States. The Government Law Center has helped shape the debate nationally and in New York over how to address the legal barriers faced by these kinship caregivers through a series of conferences, reports and newsletters.
More than a decade ago, the GLC hosted a mini-conference on "Grandparents as Caregivers," which was an officially recognized White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) event. Legislative recommendations proposed at the mini-conference were considered at the 1995 White House Conference on Aging. The GLC's program gained prominence as one of only three mini-conferences in the country dedicated to the topic of kinship care.
More than 100 participants, including about 25 kinship caregivers, voiced their concerns during the day-long conference. In turn, the conference sowed the seeds for our 1997 study, "The Dilemma of Kinship Care, Grandparents as Caregivers, Options for Reform," a detailed documentation of the confusion and uncertainty regarding the legal rights of grandparent caregivers in New York. The report has sparked the intrest of kinship caregivers across the state.
GLC speakers have addressed many kinship care support groups, providing information on legislative developments. The GLC has also published an Aging Matters newsletter entitled
Kinship Custodians: What's in a Name? The New York State Legislature has adopted significant measures designed to address some of the concerns of grandparent caregivers. Through our multi-faceted approach to the subject, we have raised the level of awareness of the problems faced by caregivers across New York state.
Most recently, in cooperation with AARP, the Government Law Center is hosting a two-year technical assistance and research effort to further promote and implement sound policies on kinship care issues at all levels of government.