Grandfamilies and SRTS

The Study

dblTilde Collaborative and the Safe Routes Partnership propose to develop a report that explores the challenges of including older adults in Safe Routes to School Programs, identifies promising strategies and practices, and recommends policies and programs for local organizations and Safe Routes to School initiatives to integrate into their work.

The report will bring new insight to the field to answer the questions:

  • How do and can Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs effectively ensure children living with or primarily cared for by grandparents can participate?

  • How can we ensure that grandparents caring for children are able to participate in SRTS programs, effectively providing the benefits of SRTS?

Background

While SRTS programs exist in communities of all types and sizes around the country, program design typically does not consider families with older adult heads of households. Without consideration of older adults in program design, programs may be creating age-based barriers to participation that exclude these families from the demonstrated academic, physical, mental health and safety benefits of SRTS initiatives. Program exclusion may result from falling to consider factors such as differences in financial resources (grandparents may have a lower household income than parents) and physical and mental abilities (age-based decline in hearing, vision, agility, cognition, etc. compared to grandchildren two generations younger); language (grandparents may be non-native English speakers; grandchildren may be); and other cultural differences (such as with the inclination to use technology, participate in some activities, etc.).