Grand Families Coalition Works to Support Growing Needs of Grand Families in Larimer County

Grandmother and Grandfather Holding Child on Their Lap. Photo courtesy of

The nonprofit organization Grand Families Coalition was awarded a $5,000 grant through the Larimer County Behavioral Health Services Impact Fund to continue supporting the unity of grand families.

The funding was utilized by Grand Families Coalition (GFC) to help run its peer support group called HUGS, which works to provide trauma-informed parenting courses and kinship to families in addition to involvement with the Colorado State University Social Work Mentor Program. Grand families or kinship families are families where grandparents, relatives, or close adults function as the primary caregivers for a family’s children.

“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,” said Grand Families Coalition Director Gail Engel. “This is the reason we exist,” Gail said.

A national expert on grand families Generations United has discovered that over 2.7 million children are being raised by a relative or close family friend. Grand families have become more common and are often formed during crises ranging from death and substance abuse to incarceration, detainment-deportation, long-term military deployment, and now COVID-19.

Grand families often experience unique complexities and challenges despite kinship care being considered a better alternative to children being put into non-relative foster care. GFC works to help address those challenges through peer support, mentorship, and outreach programs for grand families.

GFC staff are equipped to help clients navigate the establishment of legal custody, enroll children in school, secure appropriate paperwork needed for guardianship, and even assist with the logistics that come with welcoming a child into a home. GFC also offers supportive social-emotional programs for children within a grand family.

For more information regarding the Grand Family Coalition, visit:

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