Generations United, in partnership with National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) and A Second Chance, Inc., is launching a three-year initiative, Grand Voices: Elevating and Strengthening African American and Native American Grandfamilies.
The initiative will recruit and prepare family caregivers to join Generations United’s GrAND Voices network, a proven group of family caregiver advocates who educate, represent and testify on behalf of grandparents and other relatives raising children.
The project is funded by a $750,000 three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.
“More than 2.6 million children live in grandfamilies. They are disproportionately children of color. Yet there are few proven supports available that honor their unique cultural strengths,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “We’ve found our Grand Voices Network to be very effective in telling grandfamilies’ important stories to better educate elected officials and other leaders. This investment in Native American and African American voices is important and powerful.”
Cori Matthew, NICWA director of programs and policy, states: “It is with great honor and privilege that the National Indian Child Welfare Association joins this project with Generations United and A Second Chance. It is so very important that our grandfamilies have a voice for our communities in raising awareness among federal and state policymakers and tribal leaders to advocate for change and influence policy, practice, and research.”
The GrAND Voices project will engage the grandfamily caregivers in raising awareness with federal and state policymakers and tribal leaders. It will also elevate visibility of grandfamilies in the press as well as elevate the valuable role and need for supportive services for grandfamilies.
“We are encouraged by this joint partnership with Generations United and NICWA,” said Dr. Sharon McDaniel, founder, president and CEO of A Second Chance, Inc. “The Kinship Triad, both inside and outside of the child welfare system, will have an opportunity to have their voices elevated, and inform public policy from a cultural lens.”
The GrAND Voices initiative will include community-based projects to improve local supports and services for grandfamilies. It will culminate with the creation of toolkits and other resources for organizations serving Native American and African American grandfamilies, and the release of an action agenda to promote evidence-based practices for serving the families.