GENERATIONS UNITED PRESS BRIEFING | AUGUST 18, 2020

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, adults over the age of 60 and people with compromised immune systems are asked to isolate themselves and not have contact with children and young people. This is not possible for the 2.4 million grandparents in the United States who are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. As the pandemic continues and schools begin to reopen in-person or virtually, grandparent caregivers are experiencing increased anxiety about what this will mean for their ability to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy.

Like our first responders and essential workers, caregivers are the first line of defense for the children in their care. How we handle school reentry this fall and support grandfamilies in overcoming the challenges they face will determine how millions of families survive the coming months.

In this briefing, we hear from Generations United Deputy Executive Director Jaia Lent, as well as the following caregivers:

  • Gail Engel; a grandparent caregiver, Grand Voice Member, founder of the Grand Family Coalition, and child welfare activist from Loveland, CO
  • Marisa Van Zile; Member of Sokaogon Chippewa Band of Lake Superior Indians and relative caregiver, and a member of Generations United grand voices network from Watersmeet, MI
  • Sarah L. Smalls; a Generations United Grand Family member and member of the Federal Advisory Council Supporting Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren’ (SGRG), who is raising her three teen grandchildren and is an advocate for kinship caregivers and their families in northern Virginia