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Abstract

Growing numbers of African American grandmothers are raising grandchildren under the auspices of the child welfare system; however, little is known about the manner in which child welfare policies and practices impact custodial grandparenting. Based on focus groups with African American grandmothers who are raising grandchildren as formal kinship caregivers, this study explored the ways in which the new formalized relationship between the child welfare system and African American custodial grandmothers is transforming the meanings and practices related to intergenerational caregiving in African American families. Drawing on cultural and historical traditions, grandmothers forge a transformative partnership with child welfare that embodies the inherent tensions in the grandmothers' private-public role as formal kinship caregivers. Implications of an intergenerational approach to child welfare policy and practices are discussed in this paper.

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