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Manual for Grandparent-Relative Caregivers and Their Advocates:
About the Grandparents Manual
Dependency Proceedings
Getting a Child out of a Shelter
Visitation Rights of Grandparents
When Permanent Custody is Necessary
Foster Care
Public Benefits
Relative Caregivers Options Chart
School Issues
Statewide Listings for County Boards of Education
Resource Guide Statewide
Resource Guide Northern California
Resource Guide Central California
Resource Guide Southern California
Donate Now through Network for Good
via Network on
Women in Prison
About the Grandparents Manual

History of the Grandparents Manual

This Manual was originally written and edited in 1994 by River Ginchild and Ellen Barry of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. It was based in large part on a previous publication of LSPC, the Manual for Grandparents and Caregivers (most recently updated in l993). The primary authors and editors of that Manual included: Ellen Barry, Nancy Jacot-Bell, Carrie Kojimoto, Gabriela Lujan and Dorsey Nunn of the staff of LSPC (2nd edition) and Ellen Barry, Harriette Davis, Monica Freeman-Brennan, Nancy Jacot-Bell, Kirby Randolph, Chela Richheimer, Keriena Yee and Linda Yu (1st edition). We also wish to acknowledge contributions from: Jenny Walter of Legal Advocates for Children and Youth and Sandy Weiner of Income Rights Project.

This Third Edition was revised and edited by Staff Attorney Cassie Pierson, Supervising Attorney Lucy Quacinella and Administrative Director Karen Shain, all of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, with the assistance of Legal Interns Rachel Meeropol, NYU Law School, Josh Bowers, NYU Law School, and Nicole Hirsch, French-American High School. We also want to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Bay Area Legal Aid through their An Advocates Guide to CalWORKs and the Western Center on Law and Poverty through their CalWORKS Manual.

The third edition of this manual is
dedicated to the memory of
founder of Grandparents As Second Parents
who taught us all the importance of supporting the grandparents,
great-grandparents and parents
as well as the grandchildren,
with the hope that all children — everywhere —
can live in peace and safety

How to use this Manual

This manual contains references to applicable statutes, illustrative cases, charts to supplement the text and an extensive statewide resource guide. This is by no means a complete discussion of all the case law regarding extended family members and non-relatives who care for children. Please keep in mind that each family situation is unique. However, we believe it will give you a realistic idea of how the California courts look at family situations that may be similar to your own.

A Note on Reproduction:

LSPC is interested in the widest distribution of this material. You are welcome to make photocopies of this material but, if you do so, please copy the manual in its entirety and please do not charge for copies. For questions about this manual, please contact Legal Services for Prisoners with Children at 415-255-7036; fax: 415-552-3150; 100 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

© Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, 2001

Preface to the Second Edition

Relationships between parents and children and grandparents and grandchildren are a complex and precious thing. While it is essential that you take all steps to protect and care for your grandchildren, it is also important that you make all efforts to support the children's relationships with their parents. As much as you may be angry and resentful of your own adult children for what you feel are their failings as parents, remember how difficult parenting can be.

In addition, although you may have legitimate concerns about your adult children, anger and animosity among you and your children will only hurt and confuse your grandchildren. All parties should try to come to some reasonable arrangement of custody and visitation which is best for the children. Courts can very rarely "fix" a complex family situation. Try to have a constructive dialogue with your grandchildren's parents and others involved in the situation. If you are unable to talk to each other calmly, try to enlist the help of an informal mediator, such as a trusted family friend, a counselor or teacher. Use the courts only as the last resort and only in a way that will be ultimately beneficial to the children involved.

River Ginchild
Ellen M. Barry


Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
1540 Market St., Suite 490  •  San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 255-7036  •