Penn State Extension - Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP)

This program aims to expand supportive services available for PA relative caregivers and the children they are raising, particularly in terms of helping them find needed information and resources, find and enroll in support groups that serve kinship care families, and engage in family-based recreational and relationship-enhancing activities. County-based Extension educators and the human service professionals with whom they collaborate provide a range of services in various counties throughout the state.

According to the Grandfacts: State Fact Sheets for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children (updated 2017), in Pennsylvania, 238,600 children (8.8 percent of the children in the state) are living in grandparent-headed households and another 43,400 (1.6 percent of the state’s children) live in households headed by other relatives. Approximately 88,700 grandparents in Pennsylvania responsible for meeting the needs of children in their care.

There are four components to the Penn State Extension Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP):

  1. The PA Kinship Navigator website: This is an online database of programs, services, and resources available for kinship care families in Pennsylvania. We collaborate with the Kinship Institute (Philadelphia, PA) to update and add new resource listings to the database.
  2. Online resources for human service professionals: The "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren - Doubly Stressed, Triply Blessed" curriculum and other educational materials (such as a factsheet on kinship care support groups) help build awareness of the challenges faced by relative caregiver families and the resources available to them.
  3. Educational workshops for kinship care families: These workshops strengthen relative caregivers’ childrearing and family communication skills. They are usually conducted as part of kinship family support group meetings.
  4. Kinship Family Retreats: Kinship family members spend 2-days of quality time together in a stress-free camp-like setting. They take part in various educational and recreational activities designed to help families address communication and relationship issues.

For more information, contact Matt Kaplan at Penn State University.

PDF, 66.4 KB

This fact sheet highlights some of the benefits of belonging to a kinship care support group and describes the basic steps involved in organizing support groups.