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Relatives as Parents (RAP)


Relatives as Parents (RAPs) are individuals – grandparents and other family members – who are raising a relative’s child. There are more than 10,000 of these care providers in Idaho, and the RAP arrangement can be challenging from a legal, financial, and social standpoint.

COVID-19 presented additional burdens to this population, ranging from stress and anxiety over school closures and navigating home-schooling to reduced access to external support. Although family caregivers are the backbone of the healthcare system in the US, extremely minimal research has investigated the RAP population and the support networks they rely on in their daily lives and when seeking assistance.

Grandparent holding a smiling baby

Research Contributions

A needs assessment of Idaho RAPs due to parental substance use disorder was completed. Led by Drs Ellen Schafer and Sarah Toevs, the purpose of this study was to better understand the support networks used by individuals who are RAPs, both before and during the pandemic.

Findings were used to identify and fill gaps in person-centered services needed to better support this unique population of caregivers. Research was funded by the Idaho Office of Drug Policy (ODP).

Project collaborators, including representatives from the Idaho Caregiver Alliance, the Idaho Commission on Aging, the Area Agencies on Aging, 2-1-1 Idaho Careline, and Relatives as Parents INC (a nonprofit located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) recognized the critical need for this study, especially during a time of crisis (the COVID-19 pandemic). These organizations and others intend to use the information gleaned from this study to enhance services to RAPs and other family caregivers. Check out the full article for more details about study design and results.

Read the full article online at CGScholar

Idaho Was Awarded Two Year Technical Assistance with The Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network

Idaho has been awarded a unique opportunity to envision and create a statewide approach to supporting grandparents and other kin and the children they raise. The Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network – the nation’s first and only federally funded technical assistance center on these families (also known as kinship/grandfamilies) – will provide in-depth assistance for two years to help Idaho’s government agencies and nonprofit organizations work together to break down silos and holistically support these diverse families. The Idaho Caregiver Alliance is a key partner in this effort.