3907 – Brief


SHL Resolution No. 3907 urges the Legislature and Governor of the State of Kansas to continue to protect grandparent rights regarding the placement, legal guardianship, and adoption of grandchildren who are in need of care, and to expand the Grandparents as Caregivers program to include grandparents who are 40 years of age or older.

In support, the resolution cites and summarizes provisions of Kansas law providing substantial consideration of grandparents when child placement is determined and providing additional financial resources, through the Grandparents as Caregivers program, to grandparents caring for grandchildren. The resolution notes grandparent rights are a crucial tenet of the child placement system, both for temporary placements and longer-term considerations.


Substantial Consideration of Grandparents

KSA 2020 Supp. 38-2286, which requires consideration of a grandparent’s request for custody of a child removed from the custody of a parent and not placed with the other parent, was originally passed by the Legislature in 2012 SB 262.

In the 2012 Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, Senator Faust-Goudeau testified in support of the bill. Other proponents included representatives of the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature, Kansas Children’s Service League, Kansas Family Rights Coalition, and United Methodist Youthville Child Welfare Services. Written-only testimony in support of the bill was submitted by representatives of the AARP and of Children and Family Services, Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (since 2014, the Department for Children and Families).

In the 2012 House Committee on Judiciary, Senator Faust-Goudeau and representatives of the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature, Kansas Children’s Service League, and United Methodist Youthville Child Welfare Services testified in support of the bill, as did a private citizen. A Kansas attorney testified in opposition.

Grandparents as Caregivers

The Grandparents as Caregivers Act (Act) was initially passed in the 2006 Legislative Session as a state-only funded program to provide reimbursement for the cost of the care of the grandchild in the amount of $200 per grandchild per month, but not to exceed a total of $600 per month to a grandparent who meets the following criteria (in KSA 2020 Supp. 38-145):

● Is 50 years of age or older;

● Has the grandchild placed in such grandparent’s custody by the State, is the legal guardian of the grandchild, or has other legal custody of the grandchild; and

● Has an annual household income of less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level.

Under the Act, a grandparent shall not be eligible to participate in the program if the parent or parents of the child reside with such grandparent. The Secretary for Children and Families is to annually review the eligibility of grandparents participating in the program. Grandparents shall be required to meet eligibility requirements each year to continue in the program until the child reaches the age of 18 or the age of 21, if such child is in full-time attendance at a secondary school, a postsecondary educational institution, or in a stateaccredited job training program. The program is currently subject to appropriations.

Participants in the Grandparents as Caregivers program, which commenced in January 2007 as a state-funded program, were integrated into the federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program on July 1, 2009, by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, the predecessor agency to the Department for Children and Families. The TANF Program is a federal and state-funded program that has additional requirements. Under the TANF Program, grandparent caregivers in the program must cooperate with child support enforcement efforts.