Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Are you raising a grandchild or other younger relative? If you are, we would like to talk to you.

Kinship Care in Ohio - Background

In Ohio and throughout the nation, grandparents and other relatives are increasingly being called upon to serve as parents to their grandchildren. Recognizing the special circumstances often accompanying these types of parental relationships, in 1997 the Ohio General Assembly directed the Ohio Department of Aging to organize and chair a special "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren" Task Force, with representatives from state agencies, Ohio's area agencies on aging, county departments of job and family services and community action agencies. A Probate Court Judge, an AARP representative and two Ohio grandparents actively raising their grandchildren also served on the Task Force.

The Task Force commissioned a statewide needs assessment survey on grandparents raising grandchildren on Ohio. Major findings from the study indicate:

  • Grandparents are involved with raising and providing most of the care for the children is 10% of Ohio households with children.
  • One of four in that 10% is sole provider for his/her grandchildren.
  • The average care arrangement is approximately six years in duration.
  • The average age of a grandparent raising a grandchild is 55.
  • Over half of the children cared for by grandparents are 6 or younger.
  • 51% of grandparents raising grandchildren have annual household incomes below $30,000; 25% have annual household incomes of less than $15,000.

Top concerns of Ohio grandparent are related to their own finances and their grandchildren's education, safety and health coverage.

The Task Force drew up an action plan to begin addressing the issues raised in the survey data. That action plan is driven by the Task Force's organizing philosophy that:

  • "Grandparents serving as parents to their grandchildren are serving a highly valued, critical role in nurturing children and strengthening family life in Ohio. Given the advanced age of many involved, compounded by the problems inherent when the bonds between children and their natural parents are severed, this task is often difficult and sometimes overwhelming. Our state should do its best to ensure that grandparents assuming this duty have access to the same kinds of public benefits and support available to biological and legalized foster parents."

Recognizing that the role of raising children also falls to other family members, the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Task Force has broadened its role to include all kinds of kinship care. Along with the additional focus came a name change to the Kinship Care Advisory Board.

Relatives Caring for Children: Ohio Resource Guide

The Kinship Care Advisory Board is under the responsibility of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Under the guidance of the Kinship Care Advisory Board, the ODJFS has published "Relatives Caring for Children: Ohio Resource Guide." The Guide is intended to help kinship caregivers who are raising children in their care with ideas and information about:

  • Meeting the child's need
  • Common problems
  • Services and support groups that can help
  • Cash benefits to help raise the child
  • Making decisions about legal issues
  • Services for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned

Copies of the Ohio Resource Guide are available from:

  • Barbara Turpin
    Bureau of Adoption and Kinship
    Office for Children and Families
    65 East State Street, 9th Floor
    Columbus, OH 43266-0423
    (614) 466-1213