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Nevada Bucks Trend, Keeps More Kids with Parents

PHOTO: Grandparent reading to a child
PHOTO: Grandparent reading to a child
May 23, 2012

LAS VEGAS - The Silver State is doing a better job than most of keeping more children with their parents, rather than having to place them with relatives or in foster care, according to a report released today.

The number of children being raised by grandparents and other family members is up by 18 percent nationwide, according to the report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. However, Stephen Brown, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas professor who heads "Nevada Kids Count," says local agencies are doing a good job of intervening in families at risk, and helping them to avoid child neglect and abandonment.

"Nevada has kind of bucked the national trend. The number of kids in foster care is lower in Nevada, and we are doing a good job of keeping kids with families."

The report finds that 34 percent of Nevada children being cared for by family members are in situations that are supervised by the state. Brown says that follows a general trend that western states are more likely to be supervising children in the care of relatives.

The U.S. Census Bureau also records kinship care information, but Gerard Wallace, director of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights, says the Casey Foundation report offers a more thorough picture of how children move in and out of care with relatives over time.

"They've concluded that one in 11 children lives in kinship care at some point before the age of 18 - and that, when it comes to black children in America, one in five. "

Wallace hopes the new numbers will prompt lawmakers to provide more financial assistance to grandparents and other kinship caregivers, in Nevada and across the nation.

"The federal government and state government really has not responded to this community and recognized their value in raising children."

The report recommends that states remove barriers so that more relatives can be involved in a child's care, and that states help increase the financial stability of kinship caregivers, with grants such as federal funding for needy families.

The report, "Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families," is online at

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV