Relatives Raising Children in Pennsylvania

The number of grandparent and other relative-headed families in Pennsylvania is increasing every year.

Kinship caregivers face a variety of emotional, legal and daily living challenges as they unexpectedly find themselves in the position of raising a second family.  

The National Family Caregiver Support Program

The purpose of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) is to relieve caregiver burden. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging provides aid to eligible relatives raising children up until age 18. For more information on how the NFCSP may be able to help you, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.


To be eligible, one must be 55 of older, the primary caregiver for children who are relatives and the child’s parents do not live in the home. Program eligibility is income based and takes a sliding scale cost-sharing approach (click here). Qualified primary caregivers may receive up to $200 per month in reimbursements for approved out-of-pocket expenses, ranging from respite care to incontinence supplies. Under special circumstances there is a potential to receive up to $500 a month in approved reimbursements. If qualified, the program provides up to $2000 (over the duration of the case) in pre-approved reimbursements to modify the home or purchase assistive devices/technologies. Such adaptations might include installing a stair climb or modifying a bathroom. To learn more about your local resources, click here.

Other Helpful Resources

A Second Chance, Inc. provides a full range of kinship foster care, adoptive, and support services for kinship care families. The organization’s monthly newsletter provides a summary of state/national legislation and programs pertaining to the health, education, and welfare of children in kinship care families.

The Point of Contact Program, offered by A Second Chance, Inc. was established to provide direct services to families serving as kinship foster homes in Allegheny County. Program services include: certification, orientation and training of kinship foster families; monitoring and assessments of participating families; after care assistance; and respite care.

Grandma’s Kids at the Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University is an after-school program for elementary age children in kinship or foster care who live in Philadelphia being raised by grandparents or other alternative caregivers. The program provides homework help, tutoring, life skills, educational enhancement lessons, cultural and recreational activities, group counseling and support group sessions for caregivers. Contact: Center for Intergenerational Learning, (215) 204-3105.

Grand Central, Inc. operates a resource center that provides information, referrals, family support, educational seminars, and support groups for kinship care families 1211 Chestnut St Ste 200, Philadelphia · (215) 557-1554

Second Time Around Parents, conducted by Family and Community Service of Delaware County, offers a verity of services for grandparents caring for their grandchildren. Includes support group meetings for either grandparents and children, parenting workshops, individual and family counseling, advocacy training and a “Grandparent Stop-In Center” for less formal peer support. Contact: Cheryl Thomas, MSS. LSW, at (610) 566-7540 ext 227.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Finding Help When You Need It

Although each community varies, available resources may include governmental agencies, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, and other entities that are designed to provide assistance to people in need. If you are over 60, access to these resources begins with calling your local Area Agency on Aging, or caregivers of all ages can contact these toll-free numbers.

Healthy Baby - 1-800-986-BABY (2229): The statewide Healthy Baby help line refers callers to programs that offer free or low costs health care services, based on income.

Healthy Kids – 1-800-986-KIDS (5437): The statewide Healthy Kids help line refers callers to programs that offer free or low costs health care services, based on income.

Special Kids Network – 1-800-986-4550: The Special Kids Network links callers to a broad range of services for children with special health care needs. These include health care products, training, recreation and leisure, social services, counseling, support, advocacy, and therapy.

Free statewide phone numbers for getting help


 Financial Assistance for limited incomes

 1-800-451-5886 (TTY)


 1-800-692-7462 (Voice)

 Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

 1-800-772-1213 (Voice)


 1-800-325-0778 (TTY)

Healthy Baby


Healthy Kids

1-800-986-5437 (Voice/TTY)

 Special Kids Network

 1-800-986-4550 (Voice)


 1-800-986-5432 (TTY)

 Legal Assistance for low income families


 Child Care Works


 PA Adoption Network


 Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

 1-800-986-KIDS (5437)