Grandparents as Parents / Kinship

Families Come in All Forms…

If you are a kinship caregiver, a grandparent stepping in as a parent, or someone with guardianship of a non-biological child, you experience unique concerns and issues. AFAPA is here to assist you as your support children who have become an unexpected member of your immediate family.   

What is Kinship Care & Guardianship?

Temporary Legal Custody is the legal relationship established by the Juvenile Court of the county of jurisdiction between a person (related or not) or the Department of Human Resources and a child who is not their legal child.

Kinship Guardianship is the legal relationship established by the Juvenile Court of the county of jurisdiction between a relative and the child for whom they provide care.

To implement federal legislation, Alabama passed the Alabama Kinship Guardianship Subsidy Act, effective October 1, 2010. Kinship Guardianship was added to Alabama DHR policy as a permanency plan that can be identified by the Individual Service Plan (ISP) team as the most appropriate plan for children in foster care.

According to the Department of Human Resources, this permanency goal is limited to children who are eligible to receive either foster care maintenance payments and have resided in a fully approved related foster family home for at least six consecutive months. Only after the following case by case determinations have been made on a child, can the permanency goal of kinship guardianship be established: 

  1. Being returned home or adopted are not appropriate permanency options and not in the best interests of the child; 
  2. The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective kinship guardian and the kinship guardian has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child; and,
  3. If a child has attained the age of 14, the child must be consulted regarding the kinship guardianship arrangement.

Who may become a Kinship Guardian?

  • An individual who is legally related to the child by blood, marriage or adoption within the fourth degree of kinship may become a kinship guardian.  (Brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, grandparent, great grandparent, great aunt, great uncle, great-great grandparent, niece, nephew, grand niece, grand nephew or a stepparent)
  • A kinship guardian must be 21 years of age or older.
  • A kinship guardian must become a fully-approved foster parent:
    • All household members age 14 and over must pass a Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) clearance check from every state in which they have lived for the last 5 years
    • All household members age 19 and over must meet ABI/FBI suitability standards
    • Home must meet minimum standards
    • Must complete training requirement (TIPPS)
  •  A kinship guardian must be willing to assume care of the child with the intent to parent the child to adulthood

Resources available for Kinship/Guardian families

Grandparents as Parents (GAP) exists to aid the thousands of grandparents in the state of Alabama who are raising their grandchildren and are in need of support, advocacy, and community.  Grandparents face unique challenges as they revisit parenthood; they need resources and guidance that address the specific struggles they may face.  

“Chairing the Grandparents as Parents Committee, I’ve had the honor of speaking before Grandparent and Kinship groups and passing along the information I’ve discovered. It’s helped tremendously as I’m also the Alabama representative for Generations United, where I am a “Grand Voice.” This national non-profit organization has opened many learning opportunities for me, as well as getting most information regarding Grandparent and Kinship related news and laws, on the national level, before they are passed down to the states. I’ve been interviewed by national radio shows, newspapers and other media outlets to share our story.
I’ve used my broadcasting career background to help with local, state and national legislators to show Grandparents and Kinship issues they need to be concerned about as politicians. I speak to any group that will listen. I am now setting up county chapters who are a part of the AFAPA to help Grandparents navigate the system.
One bit of advice I give – If you’re a Grandparents battling this national epidemic, you’re not alone. We are here to help and guide you to any services you may be entitled. For many generations, it was just expected Grandparents would raise the Grandchildren. Those families are scared to share their stories, as they’re afraid any number of government agencies will take the kids away. I know being scared is hard and letting go is hard, but trust me, there are plenty of people willing to help you, listen to you and guide you through the turbulent waters we face as Grandfamiles. Yes, Grandfamilies. That’s the new term for people in our shoes.
Please contact me if your group would like me to speak about Grandparents raising their grandkids.”

Keith Lowhorne
Chair of the GAP Committee

Please consider making a donation to Grandparents As Parents (GAP) through PayPal.  Make sure to specify in the “notes” section that your donation should go to Grandparents As Parents.  

Quick Links:

Kinship/Guardian Booklet

Alabama Kinship Navigator

Alabama Kinship Guardian Subsidy Act

Alabama DHR County Contacts

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