Support Program for Grandparent Caregivers

Posted by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging on November 6, 2018

PCA program provides support for grandparent caregivers

More than 2.6 million children nationwide are being raised by grandparents and other older relatives because their biological parents cannot care for them due to reasons like death, incarceration, family violence, teen pregnancy and rising substance abuse – abuse fueled by today’s opioid epidemic.

Locally, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s (PCA’s) Caregiver Support Program (CSP) can help eligible senior caregivers with the unique challenges of raising children, including through financial assistance. There is no waiting list for CSP services.

“These caregivers are taking on complex challenges at what can be a difficult time in their own lives,” said Cheryl Clark, CSP director. “They may be retired, have a limited income and have trouble paying for the children’s expenses. They may have serious health issues or be dealing with stressful family dynamics. Many want to keep families together and children out of foster care. Our program can connect them to critical resources and assistance.”

Eligibility requirements
To qualify for this program, the caregiver must be 55 or older and be a non-parental relative of a child under 18. The caregiver and child must live in the same Philadelphia residence. The grandparent/older relative must be the primary unpaid caregiver raising the child – either informally or through a formal legal relationship such as custody, adoption or guardianship. The household income cannot exceed $62,548 for two people, $78,964 for three people or $95,380 for four people.

CSP offers grandparents/other older relatives assistance with:

• Care management to provide support in raising a child, planning for the future, and meeting the challenges of caregiving. Services include help navigating and connecting to educational, psychosocial, legal and other systems of support.

• Financial assistance to reimburse for services and supplies such as:
o Respite or child care to provide caregiver relief
o Financial, legal, and supportive counseling for caregiver and/or child
o Daycare, summer camp and other recreational/extracurricular activities.
o Educational/school supplies/tutoring/after school programs
o Adaptive home modifications and assistive devices for caregiver and care recipient

• Caregiver education and training on topics such as decision-making, problem-solving, communication and family dynamics

• Benefits counseling that provides information and assistance on accessing community resources

“Seniors caring for young relatives provide a stabilizing and loving force for children who often endure trauma. These caregivers are heroic, and they need a lot of support,” Clark said.
CSP help for other caregivers

In addition to helping grandparents and other older relative caregivers raising children, PCA’s Caregiver Support Program serves caregivers 18-plus of functionally impaired adults 60 and older, as well as caregivers 55-plus of individuals 19-59 with a disability or dementia. The caregiver must provide and be responsible for the routine care of the individual and meet financial eligibility requirements.

For more information about PCA’s Caregiver Support Program, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or go here.

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