Editor's note:The 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Oct. 25-29 in New Orleans.
About 2.7 million U.S. children live with grandparents, other relatives or close friends, according to the Kids Count Data Center.
If any of these children came to you for care, would you recognize them?
“We often make assumptions when we’re in our office that this is mom or dad. I don’t think we can do that,” said David Rubin, M.D., M.S.C.E.
Dr. Rubin will discuss how pediatricians can address the needs of kinship families during a session titled “Isn’t It Grand? Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” (F5019) from 8:30-9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 in room 352 of the convention center.
“The first part to helping a kin family is recognizing when you have a kin family,” said Dr. Rubin, a lead author of the AAP policy Needs of Kinship Care Families and Pediatric Practice and director of PolicyLab and population health innovation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Dr. Rubin became intrigued with kinship care while doing a fellowship in child abuse pediatrics. He realized that the most important intervention for children who could not stay with their parents due to neglect or abuse was the care provided by the family with whom they were placed.
“I became particularly interested in kinship care because I saw tremendous pressure on the child welfare system to place kids when there were fewer and fewer nonrelative foster care providers,” he said. “Kids were languishing in the system.”
So he started trying to identify grandparents, aunts or uncles who had a relationship with these children and could care for them.
During the session, Dr. Rubin will review the demographics of kin caregivers and the challenges they face.
He also plans to educate attendees on the upside to kinship care arrangements. Studies have shown, for example, that children who are placed early with family members tend to move around less than those in foster care.
“Placement stability is the game,” Dr. Rubin said. “That is what you’re trying to achieve.”
Lastly, Dr. Rubin will discuss interventions and resources to which pediatricians can connect kinship caregivers such as navigator programs and behavioral health services.
“What can we be doing to ensure that … we’re providing the navigators, services to help stabilize those children so that they don’t need the services of the child welfare system in the future,” he said. “And they have a better chance of having success.”
For more coverage of the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit http://bit.ly/AAPNationalConference19.