Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Approximately 10% of the children in Florida are being raised by a relative, such as a grandparent. These full-time caregivers are called "kinship caregivers".The Florida Kinship Center, located on the University of South Florida campus, has many resources to support these caregivers. First of all, the Florida Kinship Center provides a phone information service for the entire state of Florida, which is called the Warmline. The Warmline number is 1-800-640-6444 and this service provides information about support groups, where to find legal help, and information about how to obtain financial help from various agencies, such as Medicaid.

The Florida Kinship Center also provides an online message board, chat, and mailing lists to discuss issues and find online support. In addition, the Florida Kinship Center has an online legal guide - the Kinship Care Legal Handbook - which can help caregivers to learn about legal issues, such as how to obtain custody. Other information available online from Florida Kinship Center includes:

The Area Agency of Aging of Pasco-Pinellas has a Grandparent Caregiver Program which offers legal assistance and a chore service. This agency has contracted with the Family Resources non-profit organization to provide grandparent caregiver support groups. You can call (727)550-4250 for information about these support groups and there is also a web page here.

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