Kinship care in rural Georgia communities Responding to needs and challenges of grandparent caregivers
In 2005, the Georgia Division of Aging Services initiated the Kinship Care Program to provide services to grandparents raising grandchildren throughout Georgia's 12 regional Area Agencies on Aging. Many of the grandparents who receive Division of Aging Services services reside in rural communities. To assess the impact of the program among rural grandparents and learn more about their needs, an evaluation study was conducted with 30 grandparents in four rural Kinship Care Program sites around Georgia. Analysis of focus group and questionnaire data indicated that grandparents had concerns about their own health and the health of their grandchildren and faced many challenges related to child rearing. Challenges included limited services for children with disabilities, lack of assistance with permanency planning and other legal issues related to adoption, and insensitive service providers. The data showed that grandparents also were plagued with feelings of isolation and marginalization within the community. Many grandparents reported that the most beneficial service they received from the Kinship Care program was the psychological support and information exchange provided by support groups. Barriers to support group participation, such as lack of transportation and child care services and lack of options for intergenerational activities were identified as service gaps. This paper presents findings from this evaluation. Included are implications for service programs targeting rural grandparents raising grandchildren and recommendations for improving service delivery to this group of older adults.
King, S., Kropf, N. P., Perkins, M., Sessley, L., Burt, C., & Lepore, M. (2009). Kinship care in rural Georgia communities: Responding to needs and challenges of grandparent caregivers. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 7(2-3), 225-242. https://doi.org/10.1080/15350770902852369