Fast Facts: Kinship

What you don't know about kinship might surprise you.

FACT: Nationwide, more than 6 million children—that is, 1 in 12 children—are living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives (i.e., "kinship caregivers").

FACT: In San Francisco, 1 in 7 children are living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives.

FACT: The 2005 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey shows 279,899 children in grandparent headed homes in New York and another 138,750 children living in other relative headed homes. That makes a total of 418,649-- more than 9 percent of children in the state.

FACT: Kinship caregivers, who often become parents unexpectedly, face unique challenges to successfully raising children, including difficulties enrolling children in school, authorizing medical treatment, maintaining their public housing leases, obtaining affordable legal services, and accessing a variety of federal benefits and services. Almost one-fifth of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren live in poverty.

FACT: Almost 20% of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren live in poverty. Overall population statistics in 1997 indicated that 27% of children living in grandparent-maintained homes lived below the poverty level, compared with 19% in households maintained by parents.

FACT: The federal government makes no funds available on a continuing basis to help those relatives care for the children.