Letter from NTAC Director Ana Beltran
I am thrilled to have a great reason to email today. Generations United has received a five-year federal cooperative agreement to create the first National Technical Assistance Center on Grandfamilies and Kinship Families (NTAC).* Joining us are: USAging, the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, ZERO TO THREE, and Child Trends, as well as experts on grandfamilies and kinship families, including our GRAND Voices. Through the NTAC, we will increase the capacity and effectiveness of states, territories, tribes/tribal organizations, nonprofits and other community-based organizations to serve and support grandfamilies and kinship families.
Many of you receiving this email know me in a professional capacity, as I’ve been with Generations United for 22 years. What you may not know is that I grew up with relatives myself. I was born to young parents, who needed to finish their education while raising a child — no easy feat! My grandmother moved into our house in Indiana and threw her entire heart into the responsibility, and I considered her a second mom. While my mom worked, she helped cook, clean, run errands, and starting at age 7, she helped me practice English, as it was my second language. Sure, there were language skills she helped me develop, but she also helped me build confidence that I did not have. I will be forever grateful for the impact she had on my life.
I share this story because I know first-hand that every family is unique — in circumstances, make-up, challenges, and strengths. I also know how difficult it can be to raise a child, even with additional support. It drives me to throw my entire heart into Generations United.
The families that we at Generations United fight for are the families who are not supported by local, state, and federal systems and policies. They are families who, out of their love for their relatives and friends, take on the responsibility of raising an additional child without additional resources.
For the first time in history, we are building a holistic model that will bring systems and services together so that resources are more accessible. We will break down siloed supports, improving their communications and better ensuring grandfamilies and kinship families are equitably considered.
We’ll be able to do so because diverse experts in the fields of education, aging, public health, disabilities, child welfare, and more will be at the table, informing decisions. Our GRAND Voices, who represent the very families we’re designing the system for, will also be at the table.
I believe that, together, we’ll change programs and systems for the better and for the long-term — ones that will be, for the first time ever before, responsive to grandfamilies and kinship families’ strengths, cultures, and needs.
On behalf of our Executive Director Donna Butts, Deputy Executive Director Jaia Lent, and the rest of our leadership team at Generations United, I thank you for your belief in our mission and services — for this new National Technical Assistance Center on Grandfamilies and Kinship Families, and for our long-running National Center on Grandfamilies, which will carry on with its important advocacy work with the over 70 caregivers who make up the national network of GRAND Voices. I feel truly privileged to continue my close collaboration with Jaia, and to now leverage the work we’ve been doing all these years to support grandfamilies and kinship families.
Director, National Technical Assistance Center on Grandfamilies and Kinship Families
* The Center’s project deliverables will be supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $9,950,000 with 95 percentage funded by ACL/HHS and $523,684.00 and 5 percentage funded by non-government sources. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.