California State Information

In California, approximately over 954,000 children live with grandparents or other relative caregivers. Additionally, nearly 295,000 grandparents reported having their grandchildren living with them.

The state offers various resources to kinship care families. The Kinship Support Services Program (KSSP) use is funded by the State, and provides support services through social services, and private and nonprofit agencies. Program funds are only given to counties with over 40% of foster children living with grandparents or other relative caregivers. California Community Colleges, throughout the state, provide education and programs to relative caregivers, which has been working for over 25 years.

California offers a diverse range of services, support, and assistance for relative care families. Through public and private partnerships the state has been able to place many children with relatives, and prevent their entrance into the foster system.

By the Numbers
  • Over 954,000 children live with grandparents or other relative caregivers.
  • Over 295,000 grandparents report having their grandchildren living with them.
Grandparent Visitation

In California, grandparents cannot file for visitation while the child’s parents are married, unless:

  • the parents are living separately
  • a parent’s whereabouts are unknown for a month or more
  • the child has been adopted by a stepparent
  • the child does not live with either parent

A grandparent may also petition for visitation if the grandparent is joined in that petition by one of the parents. California law additionally requires that a grandparent seeking visitation must participate in mediation proceedings, in which a mediator tries to construct a visitation agreement that satisfies all parties.

First, the court must find a pre-existing bond between grandparent and grandchild as a prerequisite of visitation. Second, the court must balance “the interest of the child in having visitation with the grandparent against the right of the parents to exercise their parental authority” to deny visitation.

In 2007, the California laws were amended so that grandparents do not have to lose their rights if a stepparent adopts their grandchild.

See California Family Code Section 3100, Chapter 5

Download the Grandparent Visitation information here (current as of 8/1/11)

Edgewood – the California Kinship Navigator: The program provides caregivers with comprehensive, personalized, and FREE phone support with access to services that they need in their local communities–across the state. Current or previous kinship caregivers answer the toll-free line at 1-800-546(KIN)-0047. They will help the caller “navigate” the system to find the resources required to meet the family’s needs and empower them to navigate often complex social services themselves.

Visitation Resources:

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