African-American elders have historically cared for their grandchildren and other kin. Their caring for their grandchildren is a part of a kinship care tradition that is unique and reflects “complex cultural, environmental, and institutional factors that define Black family life in America” (Brown and Mars, 2000, p. 203). Today African-American grandparents are more likely to be primary caregivers for their grandchildren than any other group of caregivers. This legacy of kinship care is a source of both pain and pride (Burlingame, 1999) that dates back to the cultural traditions of the tribes of West Africa (Fuller-Thomson and Minkler, 2000; Smith, 2000). Most (56 percent) African-American children live with one or both of their parents, however, over 50 percent of those who do not live with parent(s) live with grandparents (Smith, 2000). Through formal and informal arrangements, African-American grandparents make a tremendous contribution to their families and society as a whole. Yet, they are unsung heroes who often face this added responsibility without social

policy that responds to their needs for instrumental and emotional support.