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Grandparents, kinship caregivers deserve better: Part 1

There are about 2.7 million children in this country who are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives or friends, according to 2010 Census data. A new report says that such caregivers are not getting enough financial support.

According to the report, titled "Stepping Up For Kids," by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children being raised by such caregivers increased by 18 percent between the years 2000 and 2010. And, unfortunately, grandparents and other primary caregivers need more help than they are currently getting, the report says.

Compared to an average parent, extended-family caregivers are more likely to be older, unemployed, less educated and poor. However, despite this, children raised by them tend to fare better than they do in foster care.

The authors of the new report say that state and local governments need to do more to help caregivers cope. While federal funds are used through various programs including the Fostering Connections Act of 2008, how much states contribute varies.

On average, extended-family caregivers save U.S. taxpayers about $6 billion per year since additional foster care costs are avoided. But a lot of grandparents and other caregivers don't even know what benefits they may be eligible for and the report indicates that they should be given more assistance.

In our next post, we'll take an even closer look at some of the problems and challenges with providing adequate support to kinship caregivers such as grandparents.

Source: Fox News, "Report: More support needed for kinship caregivers," May 23, 2012

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