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Grandparents' rights an important issue in New York

A growing number of New York children are raised by kin outside their immediate family. In a report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, it states that over the past 10 years, there are 18 percent more children being raised by relatives other than a parent. In New York, there are more than 150,000 children in this category. The report highlights the legal and financial barriers families are facing, such as grandparents' rights and the rights of other kin raising children other than their own.

The Director of New York State Kids Count feels New York is doing a better job than most at getting information out to alternative caregivers. The organization distributes educational information to families that are considering taking in another family member's child. They help people make an informed decision.

The report still shows major gaps in the system. Only 12 percent of kinship families receive financial assistance that is normally available to help raise children. In New York, that would mean only 12 percent of families that support more than 150,000 children.

It is not reported whether this gap is reflective of lack of knowledge by kinship families, legal barriers or a combination of both. In either case, the importance of knowing grandparents' rights and kinship family rights is paramount in helping close the gap. The Family Services Commissioner is embracing the report, and the fact that it brings awareness to the importance of kinship families. Hopefully, this awareness can increase assistance to the growing number of kinship caregivers in New York, and across the nation.

Source: Public News Service - New York, "Report: 150,000+ NY Kids Being Raised by Kin," Mike Clifford, May 23, 2012