State of Grandfamilies 2020: Facing a Pandemic: Grandfamilies Living Together During COVID-19 and Thriving Beyond.
Public Policy Report
Published: October 2020
1331 H Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
This report explains the COVID-19 pandemic is both heightening the challenges of existing grandfamilies and creating new grandfamilies due to parental deaths. It begins by explaining characteristics of grandfamilies and how they are supported. It then details the risks the COVID-19 pandemic poses to grandfamilies. Data is discussed from interviews with kin caregivers and physicians that indicate: 48% of grandparent caregivers are age 60 and older and are at heightened risk for COVID-19; about 25% percent of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren have a disability and that some disabilities can compromise their immune systems and/or place them at higher risk for COVID-19; grandfamilies are more likely to have Black or Native American members than the general population and are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19; grandfamilies face heightened needs due to the pandemic that include housing, food security, and alternative care plans for the children; grandfamilies face additional and unique challenges that are distinct from parent-headed families and may lack the ability to access services for the children and make alternate caregiving plans in the event of the caregivers’ death; robust kinship navigator programs, health care professionals, and online support groups are crucial supports to grandfamilies during the pandemic; and lessons learned and practices employed during the pandemic, such as widespread use of online platforms that can reach and serve more grandfamilies, can better support the families and help them thrive once the public health emergency is over. Recommendations are made for federal policy and State and local practices. 68 references.
grandparents; foster grandparents; kinship care; adoption; foster care; data analysis; outcomes; statistics; public housing; poverty; financial assistance; COVID-19; disaster response; guidelines