Grandfamilies and Relative Caregivers:
Meeting their Respite Needs

February 24, 2016

Respite Webinar_Grandfamilies_0 on Vimeo.

Recorded February 24, 2016
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Grandfamilies and Relative Caregivers: Meeting their Respite Needs

The State of Grandfamilies in America: 2015 was recently released by Generations United, a national organization whose mission is “to improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies and programs for the enduring benefit of all.”  The report identifies key state laws and policies specifically designed to address barriers and better support grandparents and other relatives raising children. According to the report, almost 65 percent of children in grandfamilies, or kinship care, live in states with only half or less of the key laws and policies designed to support them. Yet nationally the numbers of children placed in foster care with relatives increased from 24 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2013.

Jaia Lent with Generations United summarized the report’s findings, focused on the respite needs of grandfamilies and the status of state initiatives to meet those needs, and offered recommendations for future action.

Matt Kaplan, Professor of Intergenerational Programs and Aging in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Penn State University provided an overview of programmatic needs of grandparents and other relative caregivers and specific examples of respite services, including an innovative program that offers respite retreats for kinship caregivers.

Speakers also shared their perspectives on how Lifespan Respite grantees, state respite coalitions, and others can engage grandfamilies and relative caregivers in the work and in the respite services they provide.

PowerPoint Slides (pdf), click here.


Jaia Peterson Lent
Deputy Executive Director
Generations United
25 E St. NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20001
202-289-3979 (main)
202-777-0115 (direct)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D., Professor
Intergenerational Programs and Aging
Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education
The Pennsylvania State University
7A Ferguson Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-7871
Fax: (814) 863-4753
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


  • The State of Grandfamilies in America: 2015,Report from Generations United
  • GrandFacts – State Fact Sheets at
  • The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center at
  • Brookdale Foundation Group, Relatives as Parents Program
  • ARCH Fact Sheet: Respite Services to Support Grandfamilies, 2010
  • Crago, N. & Kaplan, M. (2011). Conducting a Kinship Family Retreat (2nd Ed.). Posted on the eXtension Family Caregiving website. Available online
  • Developing Rural Relatives As Parents Programming: Promising Practices - A Collection of Practice Wisdom from Across Rural America. Available online.
  • Promising Practices in Encouraging & Supporting Grandparents and Relatives. Available online.