Grandparents raising grandkids may qualify for assistance

More than 50,000 kids are being raised by their grandparents in Arizona, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center. Many of them need emotional and financial support, like Sally Teodoro who takes care of her 8-year-old granddaughter Paisley.

“They’re supposed to be in their own homes coming to visit Grandma,” Teodoro said. “So, we’re in a situation now as a parent and grandmother. It’s got a lot of trickiness to it.”

While Paisley’s mom still lives in Phoenix, Teodoro says for personal reasons she and her husband had to take permanent guardianship of her.

Lisa Mccormick, with the nonprofit Duet, says there are many reasons grandparents take over.

“Mental health, incarceration, substance abuse,” she said. “(Because of) the pandemic, a lot of kids lost parents where they needed family members to step up. So they did not end up in the foster care system.”

Data from Arizona’s Children Association shows the number of foster children placed with family members in Arizona jumped from 45% to 51% in 2020. But Mccormick says half of their clients do not go through the court system, which she describes as complicated.

“There are multiple layers to it,” she said. “It’s slow.”

That means no financial assistance, which is where Duet’s respite program comes in. They offer $ 250 per child each year for activities, like swim lessons and piano lessons for Paisley.

If you are a grandparent or relative now caring for a child, you may qualify for the additional assistance. For more information, contact Duet here.

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