With nearly eight million children living within a grandfamily arrangement in the country, programming and support that is effective in meeting the mounting needs of these families is essential now more than ever. Programming provided to support grandfamilies is often undertaken in grassroots fashion by individuals who learn about this population “on the job” or through personal life experience with relatively limited financial, technical, and human resources and few rigorous principles of program design to support and sustain this well-intended on-the-ground work. Through both Generations United and the Brookdale RAPP network, professionals and lay leaders in this field have access to very relevant education, networking and training. However, no core curriculum has been developed to systematically ground the educational process for grandfamilies personnel. Furthermore, training received by these staff is often acquired in piecemeal fashion and without opportunity for the ongoing synthesis of information through organized networking and discussion needed to enhance the translation of learning into practice and further integrate practice into subsequent policy, planning, advocacy, and leadership efforts.
The Certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership will deliver training to professionals and volunteers providing services and supports to grandfamilies in the following areas: expanding understanding of resources typically identified as necessary by extended family caregivers; building professional skills in delivering client services; and developing agency capacity for sustainability of both programs and staff.
Upon successful completion of the training modules, participants will be able to:
- Identify and explain typical needs of and issues faced by grandfamily caregivers and formulate strategies for addressing these needs;
- Discuss issues including physical and mental health, substance use, grief and loss, and culture for caregivers and for children in care and analyze how these characteristics and related experiences may have an impact on the extended family;
- Learn to identify supportive resources for both caregivers and children, including the benefit of support groups and community connectedness;
- Integrate personal self-care strategies into daily practice, demonstrating understanding of the importance of self-care in professional practice;
- Define ethical and personal boundaries in professional practice and explain the importance of maintaining awareness of such boundaries in relation to service provision for grandfamilies;
- Employ strategies for developing, maintaining, and evaluating programs; and
- Use technology to complete professional development opportunities.