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Module Descriptions

Module 1: Introduction and general resources for families

This module introduces and provides context for grandfamily caregiving.  In addition, general resources typically useful for extended family caregivers are identified and links or other access are provided as appropriate, understanding that the actual access to such resources may vary in different locations.  The experience of grandfamily caregiving, the role and status of caregivers, impact on families and children, and current health and human service programs or supports will be considered.  The aim of this module is to introduce service providers broadly to the special challenges and opportunities associated with grandfamily (kinship) caregiving.

Module 2: Legal information and supports

The second module addresses the most frequently requested area for greater support and understanding: navigating the legal system from the perspective of an extended family caregiver raising a relative’s child/children.  Various forms of legal guardianship are explored, the general timeline for child protective services cases and implications are explained, and strategies for navigating the legal system are discussed, taking into account both formal caregiving arrangements and informal caregiving arrangements.

Module 3:  Mental health and special needs

How does a grandparent or extended family member care for a child with special needs?  This module will discuss how to support families caring for children with unique needs.  Nationally available resources will be identified.  There will be particular discussion of how to assist an older adult who is not familiar with formal systems of support in receiving available assistance for the child(ren).

Module 4: Substance use disorder and its impact on the family

Explore the effect of substance use on family systems and its impact on relationships between parents and caregivers and parents and children. Identify skills and suggestions for equipping grandfamilies to create healthy and safe relationships with parents with substance use disorder as well as educating grandfamilies on the increased risk of substance use disorder for children of parents with substance use history.

Module 5: Identifying and supporting grief and loss for children, families, and caregivers

Grief and loss are natural parts of the extended family caregiving experience, for children and for caregivers.  This module addresses issues of grief and loss across the lifespan, addressing the question “what do grief and loss look like in a grandfamily setting?”

Module 6: Cultural humility, diversity, and inclusion

Discuss cultural diversity, ethics, and best practice engaging with culture as a means of working with a broad array of families. This module will discuss strategies for assessing and respecting the cultural aspects of a family and tailoring their practice to meet a family’s cultural needs.

Module 7: Caregiving across the lifespan

Many caregivers report feeling overwhelmed balancing their own needs while also providing for a child (again) and may not know where to turn for assistance. This module introduces service providers to some of the issues of aging typically faced by caregivers and offers strategies and resources for supporting the caregiver. Caregiver stress will be addressed.

Module 8: Professional under pressure: Use of self-care and boundaries to reduce burnout and secondary trauma

Professionals serving kinship caregivers and grandfamilies are at risk for burnout and secondary trauma that can impact their serve. This module defines compassion fatigue and burnout and explores why they are important issues for providers. It will also discuss the importance of establishing boundaries as a necessary self-care approach and offers practice activities for self-care for the service provider.

Module 9: Support groups

This module explores the benefits of support groups as a resource to grandfamilies. It will provide information for identifying support groups in the community and the development and management of professional/caregiver run support groups.

Module 10: Program development

This two-part module will include discussion of building a volunteer base to support program activities, including tips for incorporating former clients as volunteers.  The second half of the module covers developing a mentoring program to support grandfamily caregivers.

Module 11: Program sustainability

Programs are only powerful if they can be sustained.  This module will be delivered in three parts, covering related topics of maintaining and sustaining a program, including tips for writing strong grant proposals; developing collaborations and partnerships; and the importance of evaluation for program sustainability and seeking funding.

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