Tip Sheet- African American Grandfamilies: Helping Children Thrive through Connection to Family and Culture

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About 2.5 million children in the United States live in grandfamilies or kinship families, which are families in which children are being raised by grandparents, other extended family members, or adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship, such as godparents. A disproportionate number
of children in grandfamilies are African American. While African American children comprise 14 percent of all children in the United States, they make up over 25 percent of all children in grandfamilies and 23 percent of all children in foster care. The long history in the United States of enslavement, segregation, economic injustice, and institutional racism contributes to this overrepresentation in the foster care system, and likely also contributes to the larger percentage of African American children in informal grandfamilies.

This resource is designed as a quick reference tool for kinship care service providers and advocates, meant to help them design and provide culturally sensitive services to grandfamilies and kinship families who identify as “Black” and “African American.” It also serves as a guide for staff orientation/training to work in this community. This tip sheet contains highlights from Generations United’s complementary toolkit, which provides detailed information, resources, and infographics. The terms Black and African American are often used interchangeably. In this tip sheet, we generally use the terms “Black” and “African American” as they are used in the sources that are being  quoted. The toolkit also includes definitions and explanations of key terms used in this resource.

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