Kinship Care Programs Receive Boost in State Budget

Apr 03, 2009, 17:18 ET from AARP New York State

Kinship Caregivers Save Tax Dollars by Keeping Children out of State Foster Care

ALBANY, N.Y., April 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP and Kincare advocates praised the leadership of Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Assemblyman William Scarborough for restoring funding for kinship care programs and providing an additional $1 million to support the state's kinship caregivers. In the final state budget, kinship care programs, which were slated for more than 50% in cuts, received close to $3 million.

Grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship caregivers face unique challenges. The children they care for may have experienced trauma, suffered emotional distress from the loss of their birth parents, or have physical or mental disabilities. Kinship caregivers must overcome numerous barriers, including enrolling children in school, getting medical care, accessing family rights, and obtaining necessary benefits.

"These kinship caregivers, who currently raise nearly 400,000 children in New York State, help keep children out of more expensive foster care, reduce financial costs to state and local agencies, and improve the well-being of children in their care," said Lois Aronstein, AARP NY State Director. "Funding kinship programs not only keeps children out of foster care, but it saves the state money in the long run."

According to New York State Office for Children and Families (OCFS), the average cost of a child in non-specialized foster care in New York State is $22,000 per year. If just 136 children in informal kinship care enter foster care, the cost to New York's child welfare system exceeds the entire cost for the OCFS Kinship Program.

AARP New York has over 2.5 million members. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

SOURCE AARP New York State