Penn State Extension - Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP)
According to the Grandfacts: State Fact Sheets for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children (2010), in Pennsylvania, 240,000 children (8.6 percent of the children in the state) are living in grandparent-headed households and another 48,300 (1.7 percent of the state’s children) live in households headed by other relatives. Approximately 80,000 grandparents in Pennsylvania responsible for meeting the needs of children in their care.
There are four components to the Penn State Extension Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP):
- The PA Kinship Navigator website: This is an online database of programs, services, and resources available for kinship care families in Pennsylvania. We collaborate with the Kinship Institute (Philadelphia, PA) to update and add new resource listings to the database.
- Educational seminars for human service professionals: These seminars build awareness of the challenges faced by relative caregiver families and the resources available to them.
- Educational workshops for kinship care families: These workshops strengthen relative caregivers’ childrearing and family communication skills. They are usually conducted as part of kinship family support group meetings.
- Kinship Family Retreats: Kinship family members spend 2-days of quality time together in a stress-free camp-like setting. They take part in various educational and recreational activities designed to help families address communication and relationship issues.
Our RAPP program draws upon resources across the university, such as Penn State Public Broadcasting, with which it partnered in 2002 to conduct an hour-long community call-in program with Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, and Amy Goyer, coordinator of the AARP Grandparent Information Center (GIC) as guests. Penn State Extension has also partnered with Extension initiatives launched from other land grant universities, such as a series of national satellite programs on kinship care issues that were organized by University of Wisconsin-Extension and Purdue.
This fact sheet highlights some of the benefits of belonging to a kinship care support group and describes the basic steps involved in organizing support groups.
This publication addresses kinship care challenges and highlights promising programs and resources available to assist grandparents and other relative caregivers and the children they are raising.