Clearinghouse Resource


Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center


Generations United


Washington, DC: Generations United

Source Information (Journal Title, Date, Length)

June 2006, pages

Description of Resource

This Web site provides information about states’ policies on guardianship and assistance for families in which grandparents or other relatives are raising children.  The Resource Center includes a database on statutes and legislation as well analyses of topics such:

  1. Care and Custody provides an overview of laws and policies related to gaining legal custody or guardianship of children being cared for by relatives.  It provides information on the benefits of gaining legal custody/guardianship of relative children, which is applicable to refugee families caring for children who are not their own. 
  2. Subsidized guardianship is an ongoing financial subsidy to eligible children who are in the permanent care of a legal guardian, such as a relative.  In many states, children must have been previously involved with the child welfare system to access this subsidy, but it is available in some states to families who have not had prior involvement with the child welfare system (which could be helpful for families caring for refugee attached minors).
  3. Relative foster care is when children, who are involved with the child welfare system, are placed with relatives rather than non-related foster families.  These relative caregivers are typically eligible for the same foster care payments and supportive services as non-related foster families.  This is an option for refugee children who are removed from their home by child welfare and go to live with a relative.
  4. Adoption may be an option for some relative headed families, but it is essential that the caregiver understand all the ramifications, including the termination of parental rights.  Yet, for refugee children whose parents have passed away and/or have been cared for by relatives for many years, this may be an appropriate option.  Caregivers should understand that adoption assistance programs are typically only available to children exiting the foster care system.
  5. The education section provides information on educational consent laws, which allow relative caregivers – without legal relationships to the children they are raising – to access school enrollment for the children without going to court.
  6. The medical section provides information on medical consent laws, which allow relative caregivers – without legal relationships to the children they are raising – to access health care on behalf of the children without going to court.