Gratitude 4 Grandparents knows that our strength lies not only in the words we stand by, but most importantly through the actions of our initiatives. Back in 2019, our Non-Profit Organization realized that by working together we could overcome our challenges much more efficiently, and that is why we ultimately decided to launch Gratitude 4 Grandparents.
Kinship is becoming more common in Pennsylvania and across the United States. In 2017, over 90,000 grandparents reported being the primary caretakers of their grandchildren under the age of 18 in Pennsylvania, representing approximately 195,000 children.
Factors contributing to the increasing need for grandparents to care for their grandkids include the opioid epidemic, mental health, death, and illness. Over 20% of these families are living below the poverty level.
Grandfamilies are selfless when they step up and step in to care for one or more grandchildren, ensuring they receive love and support from someone they know and trust instead of entering the foster care system. Studies have shown that children in kinship care experience better life outcomes when being raised by a relative.
This commitment by grandparents is extremely rewarding but can present many challenges for the grandfamilies. By stepping up, these grandparents give up their "golden years" and dreams of retirement and travel to replace them with school conferences, grandchildren's doctor's appointments, homework, and many other activities. Pressing concerns include legal assistance, financial support, and respite care, as well as mental, emotional, and financial wellbeing.
Many are not aware that there are funds and other programs in place to support foster families but not grandparents. Our vision is for kinship and grandfamilies to have the same support as foster families, while providing better outcomes for the grandchild/children.