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: Taking care of the caregiver/ issues of aging
Caregivers sometimes 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 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: Special populations
Helping families affected by substance abuse
Working with military families
When parents are incarcerated
Native American families
Participants will choose at least 2 special population presentations, each approximately half the length of a regular module. Content for all 4 will be open and available to all participants. A participant can elect to take part in more than 2 presentations if desired.
Module 7: Ethics: Use of self in practice, boundaries, and self-care
This module defines compassion fatigue and burnout, explains why they are important issues for providers, why establishing boundaries is a necessary part of self-care, and offers activities and strategies for self-care for the service provider.
Module 8: 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 9: Program sustainability
Programs are only powerful if they can be sustained. Module 9 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.