Children’s Law Center submitted testimony on a proposed amendment that would expand eligibility for DC’s Grandparent Caregivers Program in some cases. Read a summary below or review the full testimony (PDF) as submitted to the DC Council’s Committee on Human Services.
The Grandparent Caregiver Program is well run and meets a critical need, providing financial support to low income grandparents raising their grandchildren. However, the subsidy is only available after the grandchild has been living in the grandparent’s home for 6 months. If passed, the amendment would allow DC’s Child and Family Services Agency to waive this 6-month requirement and begin the subsidy immediately if doing so would prevent the child from entering foster care. Children’s Law Center supports this, as it will contribute to CFSA’s admirable goal to “narrow the front door” of entry into the foster care system.
Still, there is more work to be done. “This bill represents one piece of a much larger shift that must be made toward investing in communities and families in order to make foster care a rare intervention used only when there is no other option to keep a child safe and healthy,” the testimony reads. “To make the vision of narrowing the front door into an achievable reality, DC must continue to invest not only in supports for grandparent caregivers but also in supports for other kinship caregivers and, importantly, for birth families.”