Grandfamilies Parent Teacher Student Association (GPTSA) is a community-based affiliate of the Maryland PTA and the National PTA.  We serve primarily the needs of a population termed grandfamilies (also kinship care), described as families headed by grandparents and other relatives who share their homes with and are responsible for raising their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or younger siblings.  Through GPTSA, you can help strengthen the quality of life and education in YOUR community. The GPTSA is a valuable link between home, school, and community, providing all with important information benefiting children, youth, and caregivers.

Why support grandfamilies?  Simple: Their task is very difficult, but their contribution is invaluable, and their numbers are growing, as evidenced by the U.S. Census data. In a  unique national partnership, AARP Foundation, Brookdale Foundation Group, Casey Family Programs, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, and Generations United in 2007 compiled and released state fact sheets and one national fact sheet that tell the story of a growing phenomenon:

  • Nationwide more than six million children – approximately 1 in 12 – are living in households headed by grandparents (4.5 million children) or other relatives (1.5 million children).
  • In many of these homes, grandparents (approximately 2.4 million) and other relatives are taking on primary responsibility for the children’s needs. Often they assume this responsibility without either of the child’s parents present in the home.
  • In Maryland 98,836 children live in grandparent-headed households (7.3% of all the children in the state).

  • There are another 30,651 children living in households headed by other relatives (2.3% of all the children in the state).

  • Of the children living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives in Maryland, 54,323 are living there without either parent present.

  • 50,974 grandparents report they are responsible for their grandchildren living with them (13,707 in Baltimore)

  • 56% of these grandparents are African American; 3% are ispanic/Latino; 3% are Asian; and 36% are White.

  • 34% of these grandparents live in households without the children’s parents present. 69% are under the age of 60; 14% live in poverty.

These grandparent and other relative caregivers often lack information about the range of support services, benefits, and policies they need to fulfill their caregiving role.  Although the advantages to the children (as opposed to their placement  in the traditional foster care system) are great, the challenges and stresses involved in such usually unplanned and unanticipated relationships can be intense. That is very true as these caregivers seek to help children in their care achieve academic success.  Thus, the GPTSA.

The number-one benefit of GPTSA membership is the ability to help children, and as part of PTA’s national and state network of families, educators, and leaders, GPTSA members receive many useul tools:

  • e-newsletters addressing parenting issues
  • Leadership training through conferences, workshops, and free e-learning courses
  • Updates on legislative issues affecting children, families, and schools

Grandfamilies matter–a lot.  And GPTSA is pledged to promoting positive outcomes for this very important group of people.  GPTSA is seeking support from individuals, businesses, and other community partners.  For more information on our mission, goals, and programs, or how you can join or help, return to this site as it evolves, or contact us.

 

 

 
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