GRG Legislation at the Federal Level

In late September, Patricia Dominguez, Field Representative for US Senator Martin Heinrich, joined the Española Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) group to answer questions from participants. That meeting opened to questions and answers with Dominguez regarding access for grandparents to potential financial resources, as well as conversation regarding upcoming legislation related to opioid use and recovery. Since that gathering, Dominguez shared a copy of a Senate Act that became law this past July to establish a Federal Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Information regarding that Act, sponsored by Senator Susan Collins, R-ME, can be viewed by clicking on this link. As well, for grandparents who might like to become more involved at the Federal level with this Advisory Council, a solicitation for nominations to serve is available here

Española Grandparents Raising Groups meet the last Thursday of every month from 5pm to 7pm at 404 Hunter Street in Espanola. Dinner and childcare provided.

For more information about the group and future group meetings, contact GRG facilitator Naomi Diamond at (703) 864-5789.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Legislative Task Force Report for 2019 State Legislature

During the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session in Santa Fe a report as House Memorial 94, will be presented to state legislators, compiled by the Taskforce on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG). The Task Force has been in existence since 2015, and in 2018 a Senate Memorial (SM 94) renewed the Task Force and its important work. Las Cumbres Community Services continues to partner currently with New Mexico Voices for Children, Pegasus Legal Services for Children, Outcomes, Inc., the State's Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), MCH Family Outreach, New Mexico KIDS, Parents Reaching Out (PRO), SHARE New Mexico, the NM Public Education Department, Health and Human Services, and the Attorney General's Office as well as members of the community who are social workers and/or grandparents raising grandchildren to address the needs of grandparents in their "devoted efforts". 

Last year's SM 94 Taskforce was called upon to "study and recommend concrete policy changes that could be implemented to expand the availability of resources and assistance to grandparents raising grandchildren, including financial resources; legal services; food and housing assistance; and programs relating to medical care, child care, transportation, and education. The report includes recommendations as follows in select areas. Check back soon for a link to the Report in its entirety here.

Issues Identified:

1) Resources and assistance is provided through numerous different systems and (system) agency staff is not trained to serve them. 

Recommendations: appropriate funds in the amount of $200,000 to encourage community-based statewide organizations develop supportive services; ensure that Income Support Division (ISD) case workers are trained on the elegibility of GRG and the grandchildren themselves for public benefits; that each ISD offfice have an identified expert on the elegibility of GRG, and the grandchildren themselves for public benefits.

2) GRG face income and other barriers to accessing subsidized childcare.

Recommendation: Amend the NM Adminstrative Code to make grandparents and other kinship caregivers eligible for child care subsidy regardless of income or their status as legal guardians.

3) There is often no opportunity to plan in advance for the addition of children to the household; grandparents need immediate help to navigate the multiple systems.

Recommendations: Make Medicaid case management services available to GRG; ensure that when grandparents take grandchildren into their homes they are not threatened with eviction from public housing authorities.

4) When GRG attempt to enroll their grandchildren in school they are sometimes turned away, even though Federal Law guarantees these children the right to enroll immediately.

Recommendations: Insert the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act into state law; appropriate state funds to supplement funds received through federal McKinney-Vento Act to ensure comprehensive training annually of school personnel with specific focus on rights of children being raised by grandparents and unaccompanied youth; appropriate state funds to create a fully staffed office at the Public Education Department to promote and support access to education for children and youth who qualify as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act.

5) GRG identify legal services as a top priority, but current resources are not adequate to meet the need.

Recommendation: Ensure GRG have access to legal services by increasing the current appropriation to the Department of Aging and Long Term Services by an additional $100,000.

6) The long-term success of grandparent headed households depends on access to quality behavioral health services, but the State's behavioral health system is in disarray, especially in rural areas.

Recommendation: The Taskforce realizes that to address the problems and inadequacies of NM's behavioral health system is beyond thier scope of work; still they express deep concern and lend support to other efforts currently underway such as the John Paul Taylor Taskforce.

Further concerns are outlined in the Report addressing the role of CYFD in supporting GRG during abuse and neglect investigtions when a biological parent places their child(ren) in the care of grandparents; gaps in requirements between Kinship Guardianship Act and CYFD requirements when a child is a risk for abuse and neglect; and the placement of little value on the relationship of GRG to their relationships to children leading to complete loss of contact between family members and children in CYFD custody. Recommendations include creation of a workgroup composed of CYFD personnel, grandparents, and legal and community advocates.


RELATED INFORMATION

More about select members of the task force can be found with the following links: Pegasus Legal Services, the Parents Reaching Out, and Outcomes, Inc. Resources under scrutiny include programs include encouragement around involvement with housing authorities to assure grandparents of equal and available housing options and enforcement of McKinney Vento.

Las Cumbres' Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program was launched in January 2012 and continues to serve families in Northern New Mexico with agency groups currently meeting in three counties, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and Taos.  

Santa Fe and Taos Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Groups

 

Grandparents seeking support in Santa Fe, 
join the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren group at our new Santa Fe location!

The second Thursday of every month
4:30 to 6:30pm
1911 Fifth Street, Suite 100
(off of St. Michael's Drive)

Dinner and Childcare provided!

Please help us with a head count if you plan to attend
so we can provide you and your grandchildren with a healthy dinner. 

Call the Santa Fe office in advance at 505.955.0410
or facilitator Naomi Diamond at 703.864.5789.

You can also reach Ms. Diamond for more information
about the group, click on this link .


Taos Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group  

is now underway the first Wednesday of every month.
5:30pm until 7:30pm.
Enos Garcia Elementary School
305 Don Fernando Street
Taos

Support groups include supportive discussion, help accessing resources,
nutritional food, and child care with child-focused activities. 

 For more information on how to be come involved with
the Taos Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, 
telephone 575.224.3197.


For information on groups in Albuquerque
, hosted by Outcomes, Inc.  visit their Grandparents Program website link: Click Here

Three Albuquerque GRG support groups now available at different locations: Westside Community Center (Third Monday of each month, 6pm-7:30); Outcomes, Inc. Community Room (second Friday of each month, 12noon- 1:30pm); and eRead Center (last Saturday of each month 10am-11:30am). Childcare provided. Review the link above for more.


 

Espanola Grandparents Support Group Meetings

Las Cumbres is proud to announce its fifth year of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program for grandparents who are caring for their grandchild or grandchildren. The program offers a monthly meeting place where grandparents can meet others in the same situation and learn from one another. Both an evening and day group are now meeting in the agency's Espanola offices.

Come Join us!

The Last Thursday of Every Month
5pm - 7pm
404 Hunter Street, Espanola

AND recently added:

The Second Wednesday of Every Month
10am - Noon
404 Hunter St., Espanola

 

Food and Childcare Provided

The program will:

Provide grandparents acess to local 
and national resources

Act as advocates for grandparents through
public awareness

Arrange for informational speakers 
on various topics


For more information on how to get involved with the GRG program
in Española, telephone 
Delfinia Romero
(505) 753-4123


 

 

Report Issued By CYFD on Study of Growing Issues and Crises Faced by Grandparents

In response to the passage of Senate Joint Memorial 14 in last year's Legislative Session, a study was conducted by the State's Children Youth and Families Department incorporating input from the Human Services Department and the Public Education Department. The report addresses past legislative efforts, important demographics, and outlines promising practices and existing resources nationwide. To read the entire report, clink HERE.

Highlights from the report include the following:

Existing Resources: 

  • Legal Resources: Pegasus Legal Services operates a helpline for kinship caregivers, which can offer information and advice; legal assistance for low-income individuals representing themselves; and referrals for direct legal representation to those who need help or have questions concerning kindship guardianship of a child. Pegasus Legal Services website, click on this link
  • Financial Resources: The State's Human Services's Department, as the statutory Medicaid authority for the state, handles Medicare and Medicaid dollars, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). TANF is a child-only application. Provided the family has limited assets and the parent does not live in the home, the child may be eligible for TANF. Link here to Human Services Department website.

The Aging and Long-Term Services Department provides a range of supports for seniors and adults requiring long-term services. View their website here.

Donde hay gana, hay maña. 
(Where there is the desire there is the ability.)
-dicho one might hear from their abuela

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild. ~Welsh Proverb

Location & Contact

In Espanola:
Naomi Diamond
Ph: 703-864-5789
Email Naomi
By mail:
404 Hunter St.
Espanola, NM 87532

In Santa Fe:
Naomi Diamond
Ph: 703-864-5789
Email Naomi
or Santa Fe office
Ph 505.955.0410
By mail:
1911 Fifth St., Suite 100
Santa Fe, NM 87505


In Taos:
Candy Allen
Ph  505.470.4798
Email Candy
By mail:
1332 Gusdorf Rd., #A
Taos, NM 87571

Click for Map and Directions