Spotlight Encore Cleveland: A Foster Grandparent Program in Cleveland Schools

An older adult sits at a table working with a young student

Launched in 2013 by the Cleveland Foundation, Encore Cleveland helps to connect and fund a network of organizations to provide experienced Greater Clevelanders an array of meaningful opportunities in the community upon retirement or near the end of their primary careers. In our “Spotlight Encore Cleveland” guest blog series, we go behind-the-scenes to explore programs offered through the Encore Cleveland network. In this blog, learn about becoming an in-school foster grandparent with East End Neighborhood House.

In 1965, the Foster Grandparent Program began as a national demonstration effort to explore how older adults who have the necessary maturity and experience could establish a personal relationship with children who have either exceptional or special needs. That demonstration effort funded 21 projects, which employed 800 Foster Grandparents to provide care and attention to children up to five years of age in institutional and community settings. By 1968, a total of 68 projects had been developed and funded in 40 States and Puerto Rico. There are currently nine Foster Grandparent Programs in the state of Ohio, three of which are in the Northern Ohio region: Cleveland, Akron and Toledo. The program is mutually beneficial, providing a source of income for retired adults while increasing the number of caring adults in a child’s life.

To be eligible to participate in the Foster Grandparent Program and receive a stipend, adult applicants must: 

  • Be 55 years of age or older;
  • Be physically capable to serve without detriment to self or others;
  • Meet income requirements;
  • Complete and pass background check;
  • Have never been accused, arrested charged or convicted of child abuse or molestation;
  • Not be a convicted felon;
  • Have the will to adhere to all Foster Grandparent Program policies and procedures;
  • Be available to volunteer 15-20 hours per week;
  • No longer be employed in the workforce;
  • Reside in the state of Ohio;
  • Have reliable transportation;
  • Have a current driver license and proof of insurance if driving;
  • Not be under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances while volunteering;
  • And genuinely love and respect children.

The East End Neighborhood House will supply foster grandparents for tutoring in more than 20 schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for the 2019-2020 school year.

Discover more by contacting:

Kimberly Robinson

Director Human Resource and Volunteer Service

East End Neighborhood House