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Grand Families Coalition, a nonprofit organization that works to support the unity of grandfamilies, was awarded a $5,000 grant through the Larimer County Behavioral Health Services Impact Fund in October 2019.

The funding was used by GFC to help run its peer support group called HUGS, which offers trauma-informed parenting courses and kinship training to families, and involvement with the CSU Social Work Mentor Program.

Grandfamilies, or kinship families, are families where the grandparents, relatives, or close adults serve as the primary caregivers for the children of a family.

According to Generations United, a national expert on grandfamilies, more than 2.7 million children are being raised by a relative or close family friend. Grandfamilies are becoming more common, and often formed during a crisis such as death, substance use, incarceration, detainment-deportation, long-term military deployment, and now COVID-19.

“For every child in the Child Welfare System being raised by a Certified Kinship Care Provider, there are 20 more informally being raised by grandparents, or other kin, outside of the formal welfare system - unsupported emotionally, financially, and socially. This is the reason we exist,” Grand Families Coalition Director Gail Engel stated.

While kinship care is often considered a better alternative to children being placed in non-relative foster care, grandfamilies often experience unique complexities and challenges. GFC works to help address those challenges by offering peer support, mentorship, and outreach programs for grandfamilies.

The staff is equipped to help clients navigate establishing legal custody, enrolling children in school, securing the appropriate paperwork for guardianship, and assisting with the logistics for welcoming a child into a home. GFC also offers supportive social-emotional programs for the children within a grandfamily.

According to Generations United, decades of research show that grandfamilies offer children more stability, better mental health and behavioral outcomes, are safer, stay connected with siblings, experience a sense of belonging and cultural identity.

To learn more about Grand Family Coalition, visit:   

Published on: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 11:11am
Contact Details:

Jennifer Wolfe-Kimball, Communication and Media Specialist, Larimer County Behavioral Health Services, [970] 498-7127,; Gail Engel, Founder/Executive Director, Grand Family Coalition, [970] 699-2837,

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