Methods: Data come from kinship providers in two major metropolitan areas of a mid-Atlantic state, who were involved with agencies that provide supportive services to custodial grandparent families. The sample included 62 grandparents who provided data via electronic surveys. Data included measures of parenting stress, coping, resilience, life satisfaction, health/mental health status, and service use. Analyses focused specifically on race as a potential moderating factor in exploring differences on health, satisfaction, and support service use related to parenting grandchild(ren).
Results: Data suggested significant differences based on race. For example, Black grandparent caregivers reported higher levels of coping (p=0.042), lower levels of stress (p=0.024), better mental health (p<0.001) and higher levels of life satisfaction (p=0.033). White grandparent caregivers reported better physical health (p=0.016). In terms of service use, white grandparent caregivers generally used formal child welfare services more than Black grandparent caregivers (p=0.005) while Black grandparent caregivers used informal support groups and religious services more (p=0.019 & p=0.003 respectively).
Conclusions and Implications: Strengths, needs, and stressors vary significantly and systematically among kinship grandparent caregivers. This suggests the importance of recognizing both strengths and stressors/challenges in determining formal and informal supports for kindship caregivers. Findings also suggest the importance of considering the intersection of race with other characteristics and contexts to advance both research and practice in more adequately supporting kinship foster grandfamilies.