On Their Own Terms: Supporting Kinship Care Outside of TANF and Foster Care. KinCare Project




Program Development

Kentucky's KinCare Project is a statewide program of grandparent support groups operated through a partnership between the Office of Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, the Office of Aging, and the Cooperative Extension Service. The partnership received Brookdale Foundation funding in 1998.

Mission and Goals

The stated mission of the KinCare Project is to "make it easier for grandparents to again be parents." The program's operational mission is to develop a network of grandparent support groups in which the grandparents themselves take ownership of the groups, bringing together whatever resources are needed to meet local needs.

Target Population and Eligibility Criteria

The KinCare Project targets all non-parents needing support in parenting, but is mainly focused on grandparents raising grandchildren. There are no requirements for participation in the KinCare program.

Organizational Structure

The KinCare program operates through the local Family Resource and Youth Service Centers which are located in the public schools. A statewide steering committee provides guidance and direction. The steering committee was mandated under the Brookdale Foundation grant, but state officials realized it was important that the program find a means for ongoing support and that a steering committee was needed to provide long-term vision and direction. The committee has recently been enlarged and two subcommittees have been formed. The Program and Services Subcommittee is charged with developing grass roots strategies and models for communities wanting to implement the support groups to follow. The Legislative/Policy subcommittee is focused on identifying and pushing a grandparents agenda, seeking out TANF funds for grandparent caregivers, and pushing for in-service training of TANF workers. The steering committee meets quarterly with subcommittees meeting more regularly.


While the main KinCare program is the operation of 29 support groups, the support groups are used to distribute a variety of information about available services and supports to grandparents raising grandchildren. For example, several groups have brought in KCHIP officials to describe how grandparents can access this program. Other programs have brought in child welfare, legal services, and other community programs. While all programs follow the same general model, they do vary considerably as the local resource centers have flexibility to design the programs to meet local needs. Some programs have developed internal leadership with the grandparents really running the program. That is really the hope for all programs. Each program is encouraged, but not required, to use a state-created form to assess the needs of the grandparents. Some programs have been more focused on educational activities. Others have brought in service providers for information and referral only, while some offer services at their centers. A number of programs have started offering services to children beyond respite care, however with a maximum limit of $90,000 which pays for two staff members, the focus of the family centers has always been information and referral, not service delivery.

Major Funding Sources

The KinCare Program is funded entirely through the state's family resource centers (maximum grant is $90,000, the minimum $10,000, based on $200 per child receiving free meals) now that the $10,000 Brookdale grant has ended. Most resource centers seek out additional funds and many have been successful in adding to their programs.

Key Contact

Bill Montgomery
State Office of Aging Services
Kentucky KinCare Project
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40621