Monday, June 13, 2016

Generations United’s Statement Supporting the Family First Prevention Services Act

Generations United commends House and Senate leaders on the proposed bipartisan, bicameral Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456). This groundbreaking legislation takes the bold step to redirect federal funding to support evidence-based, upfront prevention services, making them available to the approximately 2.5 million children whose grandparents or other relatives step in to care for them, keeping them out of foster care and with family.

Children raised by relatives experience increased stability, and greater safety and permanency and better behavioral and mental health outcomes than children living with non-relatives. Yet, grandparents or other relatives often take on the care of children with little or no warning. These relatives face unique challenges finding information about resources, policies and services to help them navigate their new role providing full time care for children.

Supports offered through the Family First Prevention Services Act such as individual and family therapy, home visiting and kinship navigator programs can offer relatives the support they need to keep children out of foster care and help them thrive.

The proposed legislation will benefit children in grandfamilies by:

  • Providing a partial federal match to states offering evidence-based Kinship Navigator programs.
  • Allowing states to use federal funds to support 12 months of prevention services to keep children from needing to enter foster care, including families where a relative is caring for a child.
  • Addressing barriers to licensure for relatives through the promotion of model family foster care licensing standards with a focus on ensuring states promote placements with family members.
  • Reducing the amount of time foster children wait to be adopted or placed with relatives across state lines by encouraging states to replace their outdated child placement systems with a more efficient electronic system.
  • Ensuring more foster children are placed with families by ending federal reimbursement when states inappropriately place children in non-family settings.
  • Promoting permanency for children by extending adoption and legal guardianship incentive payments. 

The proposed bill also reauthorizes the Regional Partnership Grant Program, which provides funding to state and local evidence-based services aimed at preventing child abuse and child neglect due to parental substance abuse, and it extends existing child welfare services for five years through the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program.

This trailblazing child welfare legislation stops short of providing important short-term financial assistance to relatives, as included in previous proposals. Relative caregivers are often retired, living on fixed incomes and unprepared to take on the expense of children who come into their care with no chance to plan in advance. Research shows that caregivers in grandfamilies are experienced and savvy financial managers who forgo their own financial needs and dreams to care for children. They often simply lack the needed resources. Generations United looks forward to working with Members of Congress who are championing federal and state solutions to address these ongoing financial challenges.

For a summary of the bill, click here.   
For draft bill text, click here.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Senior Adults and Students Come Together to Create a Memorable Exhibit - Seniors & Their Stories

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs. 

This week’s article is submitted by LeadingAge.

This week's cool idea: residents of Trinity Senior Living Community (TSLC), a LeadingAge member, and The Institute of Music & Dance (IMD) -- through the Kresge Onstage! Program -- developed and conducted the “Seniors & Their Stories” workshop and exhibit.

This multifaceted project brought together senior adults living in the McGivney Bethune Apartments on the campus of Marygrove College, Marygrove College undergraduates in the Arts and Civic Engagement course, and renowned Detroit photographer, Barbara Barefield.

“Twenty three students enjoyed listening to and recording the personal stories of 7 TSLC seniors, living in northwest Detroit,” said Judith Molina, Director of IMD. “They developed, through word, dance, song, and visual art, a creative expression of the individuals they came to know more personally.”

The photo exhibit, Senior & Their Stories, was on display at the Beyond Words Gallery at Marygrove College library in Detroit, Michigan last March. All involved were thrilled and proud of the results.

For the students, they got an opportunity to interact with and learn about seniors’ rich history, while making art and getting course credit.

For the seniors, it was a wonderful chance to share their stories with young adults and see their lives expressed in beautiful and meaningful art.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Share the inspiration. You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Meet Barbara Brown - Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Barbara Brown considers herself a retired high school teacher.

But in truth, she’s never really left the classroom. Now, she mentors youth at risk of becoming pregnant through programs run by ONEgeneration in Van Nuys, California.

As a mentor in the Teen Parent Support program, Brown combines her experience as both teacher and parent to help young people understand the complexities and challenges of raising children. She gently guides the teens, drawing on her own experiences to spark discussions and assure them they are capable, competent, and caring parents.

According to colleagues, Brown “is very attentive to the needs of each teen in the program…”

The teens, in turn, become engaged in the program because they see that Brown really cares for them and that they can trust her.

Brown also serves as a model for the young people she mentors.

A mother herself, she went back to school to get her teaching degree while raising six children. And now in retirement, along with the volunteering, she takes classes in Spanish, art, and writing at the local Senior Enrichment Center.

Young people aren’t the only beneficiaries of Brown’s dedication.

She writes columns in a community newsletter where she discusses the pregnant and parenting teen program along with her enthusiasm for volunteering. Through her writing, Brown has helped persuade other older adults to become mentors – enriching their lives along the way.

She doesn’t stop with recruitment. Once the volunteers are on board, Brown makes herself available to them as their “go-to” person, offering advice and guidance.


Anh Tran, ONEgeneration's community relations manager, nominated Brown for the Older Adult Volunteer Award.

“Barbara continues to volunteer her time, wisdom, and warm smile week after week, semester after semester, season after season," Tran noted. "I thank my lucky stars that she is a part of all of our programs.”

Monday, May 02, 2016

The East County Intergenerational Garden

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

This week's cool idea, the East County Intergenerational Garden at Cuyamaca College in California, is an intergenerational gardening program where older adults teach preschoolers how food is grown and develops an appreciation for enjoying healthy eating.

(Check our archives for parts 1-80 | non-archived: 1, 2, 3,4 and 5)

For a few hours each week, seven gardening enthusiasts, ages 60 and older, share a little of their know-how with 60 preschoolers tending a small, practice garden of sorts as they await the installation of a much larger one that the college is calling its Intergenerational Garden.

The children, ages 2-5, participate in this program.
Recently cleared of mountains of mulch and debris that had collected over the years on the vacant site, the 1/3-acre plot between the Child Development Center and the Water Conservation Garden will boast lots of extras, including a nearby amphitheater and a meandering creek bed.

The Child Development Center is a pre-kindergarten day care facility serving both the college and off-campus communities, and is uniquely suited as an onsite lab for students enrolled in the college’s child development program.

A $25,000 grant from the county’s Health and Human Services Agency helped establish the new garden and also pays the $100 monthly stipend for the seniors, affectionately called the “Gardening Grannies” by the center’s young inhabitants.

For the children, ages 2-5, the intent is to teach good nutrition to a population accustomed to diets heavy on processed foods.

For the seniors, it’s a healthy outdoor activity and a rare opportunity to connect with kids.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Why not tweet your cool intergenerational ideas to #coolideas? You can also post them to our Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Seniors/Volunteers for Childhood Immunization

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, we feature intergenerational program ideas that were tried and successful. This series is a tool to highlight various age-optimized programs and practices. The program descriptions are provided by representatives of the programs. Inclusion in this series does not imply Generations United’s endorsement or recommendation, but rather encourages ideas to inspire other programs.

This week's cool idea is one from the past.

Seniors/Volunteers for Childhood Immunization is an intergenerational immunization program based in Texas.

(Check our archives for parts 1-80 | non-archived: 123, 4 and 5)

The Seniors/Volunteers for Childhood Immunization program strives to encourage the timely receipt of immunizations for pre-school aged children in Texas and beyond.

Senior volunteers possess the experience of witnessing the devastating effects of diseases that are now vaccine preventable. 

Their understanding of the critical need for immunizations, coupled with their unique skills, compels them to become devoted advocates to the mission of ensuring the health of the youngest members of their local community.

The program trains older adults to educate new mothers in hospitals or birthing centers about preschool immunization. Consenting mothers are enrolled into a community-based immunization reminder program.

Seniors/Volunteers for Child Immunization also calls or sends cards reminding mothers of their childrens' two, four, six, and twelve month immunizations, and evaluates their success based on official immunization records.

Got something cool you tried that was successful? Post them to our 
Intergenerational Connections Facebook Group. We want to highlight innovative age-optimized programs and practices through our blog, social media and weekly e-newsletter! Share the inspiration.