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Resources for Caregivers of Children

Significant life changes occur when a grandparent or relative assumes care of a child.  It can be challenging emotionally, legally, and financially.  Children may also experience emotional or behavioral issues and require additional support.  Connecting with related caregivers of children in similar situations often offers support.  

Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to find out if any support groups for grandparents or relatives raising children are available in your area. Some additional resources are provided below.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health issues birth certificates. A birth certificate costs $20 and can be obtained online, through the mail, or at one of six Pennsylvania Department of Health locations
  • The Social Security website provides information about obtaining Social Security cards. You will need the child’s birth certificate and additional documentation, such as school or daycare records.  Any child age 12 and older must appear in person to apply for a Social Security card
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website provides information about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Benefits. You can also contact your local county assistance office. You may be eligible for cash assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), help with child care, health care coverage for your grandchildren, home heating assistance (LIHEAP), school meals, or SelectPlan for Women and long-term living services while raising your grandchild.  
  • The Educational Law Center ensures equal access to education for all children and has free services and publications which may help resolve issues, including School Enrollment Guide for a child living with someone other than their parent.  The Educational Law Center can also be contacted at 215-238-6970.
  • Head Start is a program for eligible low-income children, age birth through five years. Head Start provides children with a developmentally appropriate early childhood education, ensures that young children get health checkups and treatment, oral health screenings, and ensures that children are fed a nutritious, hot meal every day.
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of America offer recreation in addition to multiple other programs that help children and youth build character and leadership, ensure graduation from high school and prepare for college, and develop life skills.  They also offer resources for parents and caregivers, from homework tips to bullying information. 
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America offers a one-to-one supportive relationship, pairing an adult with a child or youth.  Big Brother Big Sister relationships positively impact relationships, lifestyles and schoolwork.