Grandparent Caregiver Program
IIIE National Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)
The NFCS program includes services for kinship caregivers aged 55 or over to assist them with being more effective caregivers for children aged 18 or younger.
Support Groups: The AAA has contracted with Family Resources to implement the Support Groups. The focus of the groups are to develop and train a group to become their own facilitators assisting the kin caregivers in coping with emotional and physical stress of caregiving. Activities can include providing or arranging for transportation to the group or other needed appointments, obtaining child care for group meetings, providing group members with respite, obtaining speakers for the group on requested/needed topics, contacting members who are absent from the group meetings, making referrals to community resources, informing the community of unique needs of kin caregivers, and recruiting new group participants. Administratively, records are maintained regarding each support group, including attendance, topics covered and individual concerns.
In conjunction with the Support Groups, the caregivers are able to receive the benefits of a full-time coordinator who not only arranges the four groups that meet monthly throughout Pinellas and Pasco, but is also available to do outreach and assist the grandparent with linkage to community resources. Transportation is offered to grandparents to attend the support groups, and during the support groups, the grandparents have access to sitter service for the children, educational materials, and most groups offer caregiver training, such as computer education which has been very popular. Frequently the groups have speakers to offer advice from legal groups, the school system, such as Head start, and Juvenile Welfare Board. The program has developed goals to meet throughout the year which are measurable.
These services are an important support to seniors taking care of children because they may face many challenges.
The challenges faced by kin caregivers may include:
- raising children on a fixed income
- finding and/or maintaining housing
- experiencing health problems that make caring for children more difficult
- accepting the responsibility of raising children, who in many cases may have behavioral and emotional problems due to various factors, such as, an unstable home or parental drug use to name a few.
For additional resources for kinship care of children visit the website for Family Resources.