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Report: 150,000+ NY Kids Being Raised by Kin

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 By Mike CliffordContact
May 23, 2012

NEW YORK - New York is part of a growing national trend in terms of the number of children living with grandparents and other relatives - and a new report indicates that the latest Census numbers already are outdated.

Gerard Wallace, who directs the New York State Kinship Navigator program, says a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation paints a more accurate picture. In the past 10 years, the report says, 18 percent more children are being raised by family members other than parents, including 153,000 in New York. Wallace says the report reflects the new reality for many children.

"It 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."

The report says states need to do more to break down legal and financial barriers to allow people to be involved in caring for relatives' children.

Mary DeMasi, director of New York State Kids Count, says the Empire State does a better job than most at arming potential kinship caregivers with the information they need.

"There's a tremendous amount of educational material available to families that help them to make decisions about whether or not they really want to go this step, in terms of becoming a kinship family."

Wallace says the report also points out gaps in the system. It says only about 12 percent of private non-parent caregivers receive funds that are available to help with raising children, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

"Twelve percent - that means that these families are largely untouched, unreached, and are not receiving the benefits that they could receive if they were aware of them."

Family Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion says she welcomes the report, and that kinship care offers children the security of knowing they are being cared for by family members they trust.

The report is online at aecf.org.

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