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  ‘Kinship Care’: A Vital Part of Today’s Caregiving Continuum


Episode Description:  

Over the last few decades, addressing the needs of caregivers has emerged as national priority, with millions of people trying every day to balance work with family life—especially “sandwich generation” parents who are managing both child care and elder care. But there’s another type of caregiving that may have not received as much attention, but it, too, involves millions of families nationwide: It’s called kinship care, a term used to describe the raising of children by grandparents, as well as other relatives, and family friends. Recently, the term “grandfamily” was coined to describe families engaged in kinship care, although roughly 40 percent of these caregivers are not parents. In today’s episode, Gerard Wallace, the founder of the New York State Kinship Navigator, will talk about his deep and abiding advocacy on behalf of kinship caregivers and their families. Since graduating from law school more than 25 years ago, Jerry has become a leading expert on kinship care, drafting federal and state legislation, providing legal continuing education training on kinship law, and presenting at many conferences, commissions, and local forums. His work, along with other advocates, has resulted in more than 30 recommendations becoming laws, regulations or policy changes. Gerry has received numerous awards for his leadership, but more than these accolades, you will be inspired by his far-reaching knowledge of kinship issues; his devotion to supporting kinship families; and his commitment to raising national awareness of the needs, challenges and rewards of kinship care.

Guest Description:

Gerard Wallace is the founding director of the NYS Kinship Navigator in 2006, retiring in the fall 2020. He was Public Service Professor at the New York State University at Albany, School of Social Welfare. From 2005 to 2010 he was project consultant for the AARP Kincare Project and from 2005 to 2014 he was co-chair of the New York State KinCare Coalition. He is a member of the Child Welfare League of America’s Policy Commission and past director of Hunter College’s Grandparent Caregiver Law Center and of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights. Since 1997, he has published numerous articles and white papers on kinship law and policy. In 1999, he authored an amicus curia brief in the United States Supreme Court grandparent visitation case, Troxel v. Granville. His writings have been published in the New York State Elder Law Attorney, Grand magazine, New England’s “Common Ground,” the Journal of Gerontological Social Work, West Law’s Elder Adviser, the Washington Post’s op-ed page, and in the Journal on Family Social Work. In 1997, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Albany Law School, where he authored his first kinship paper.  Since 2000, he has presented continuing legal education trainings on kinship law. He’s also presented at many conferences,  commissions, hearings, and countless local forums, and advised on the drafting of both federal and state legislation related to kinship care. He has provided leadership for state and national campaigns to raise attention to kinship families. In New York, his work, along with other advocates, resulted in more than 30 recommendations becoming laws, regulations, or policy changes. He’s the recipient of the 2009 Generations United’s “National Kinship Advocate Award”, the 2010 Brookdale Foundation “Janet Sainer Award” for outstanding service and dedication to Kincare families, and the 2011 Presbyterian Senior Services’ Maggie Kuhn Award for service to elderly New Yorkers.

Contact: gwallacekn@gmail.com

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gerard-wallace-4a3108169/

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