New Law Benefits Grandparents

Grandparent caregivers can reap important benefits from the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008.

By Rich Thomaselli

President George W. Bush, on October 7, signed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008. The law benefits grandparent caregivers and their grandchildren, children being raised by other relatives, and children in foster care.

The bill makes $3 billion available over the next ten years to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to distribute monthly to families who take permanent custody of relatives who are children. This is a strong start to help the 4.5 million children nationwide being raised in households that grandparents head, as well as another 1.5 million children in homes that other relatives head, according to the AARP. Of those 6 million, AARP research shows that 2.5 million children are without their parents.

Many grandparents, some of whom have formed formal and informal advocacy groups across the country, have found it difficult to raise their grandchildren without financial assistance.

You can view the 90-page text of the law at the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Children's Defense Fund and the Center for Law and Social Policy, in collaboration with Grandfamilies National Partnership Working Group prepared a universal short summary. The bill will promote permanent families for children by:

  • Authorizing subsidized guardianship to enable children in the care of grandparents and other relatives to exit foster care into permanency
  • Establishing kinship-navigator programs to help link relative caregivers both inside and outside the formal child-welfare system to a broad range of services and supports that will help them meet the needs of the children in their care
  • Requiring notice be given to adult relatives of a child if he or she is placed in foster care
  • Allowing states in a demonstration program the option to set separate licensing standards for relative foster parents and nonrelative foster parents

The bill also supports children and families by:

  • Extending direct Title IV-E funding to tribal governments
  • Reauthorizing the Adoption Incentives Program, a critical tool in helping children become adopted
  • Allowing states to receive federal reimbursement for support provided to foster youth up to age 21
  • Requiring reasonable efforts to keep siblings together

According to the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), 37 states and the District of Columbia have subsidized guardianship programs. This new federal law will help them reach more children. In addition, CLASP — a national membership organization focused on improving the child-support system and working "to establish child support as a major work-support for low-wage families" — said the law will also help keep children in school. Every child receiving federal assistance must be enrolled full-time in school, and child welfare agencies must help keep a child in his or her original school (or assist with a prompt transfer) while making placement decisions for a child in foster care.


I have had legal guardianship of four of my grandchildren for almost 6 years. They did NOT go into the foster care system so I have not been able to receive any Kinship financial assistance or any other type of monetary assistance. We do receive food stamps and $300 @ month from the state because the children's parents refuse to pay child support. We have spent all of our savings and all other resources to help raise these precious children. Is there any source of financial assistance for grandparents in our situation in the state of KY? on 2016-05-27 08:17:51

Two of my grands have lived with me, most of her 21yrs n get brother since the age of 3. All of their school years K-12 was with me.Both are now attending college, but we are having trouble getting financial aide
To help with their tuition. Reason given, I wasn't given guardianship through the courts.I received child support ordered by the court. Can anyone give me suggestions or tell me where I may get help on 2016-04-07 13:04:15

Ok, I'm a little confused now. In 2007, (Texas) my husband and I received monitoring conservatorship of my maternal grandson-we had the option to take full custody but not knowing how things are in 2013, we gave my daughter the benefit. Her and the father have joint conservatorship, her visitation is based on my decissions(in other means, she has NONE) and he has standard except for the 5th weekend excluded. His mother and SF are suppose to supervise his location(AKA- Knowledge).
Our lives have charged so much since this. In 2010, my daughter had an option with her second son @ the time 2.5yrs old, to sign guardianship to me or I would call CPS again, she signed guardianship(we have been in OK now since 2008.
So now I have 2 states, 2 grandchildren, and I'm seriously considering adoption NOW.
What's kept me from this is the Insurance for these children.
No one has ever brought to my attention that we'd receive any financial help for these children if we permanently adopted them.
I know adoptive parents get finicaial help but not grandparents keeping our grandchildren OUT OF THE SYSTEM!
Please help me understand this law better.
I'm on Medicare and SSDI, my husband is on VA and we are raising his 16yr old daught(she has insurance)
My daughter and the father of the oldest grandson is Order to pay Child Support along with, by their choice, state health insurance for him.
We have both boys on Medicaide and we don't want to loose that if we ADOPT.
I really want to understand this law better, Thank you.

We get NO Childsupport for her other son who is 5 and the only paternity that's been proven is his father is Not the above mentioned father.

Thank you

Lbunkie on 2013-07-06 08:34:54


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