Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kinship care: the challenges and opportunities

by Jan Wagner

I had the opportunity to chat with Cate Newbank, executive director of FACES of Virginia, as she was on her way to a briefing about kinship on Capitol Hill. We talked of kinship issues and the very wide gap in this country between licensed foster kinship families and informal or unlicensed kinship families, and she gave me a link to an organization called the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights.

The organization's main focus are informal/non-foster kinship families. The event was sponsored by Women's Policy Inc. and the Annie Casey Foundation. During the hour and a half meeting, the presentation included the number of kinship families in the U.S., the breakdown of how many are formal vs. informal, what services are available, which families are eligible to receive them and what some of the needs kinship families have.

I was given a copy of the Casey report a couple of months ago and I truly believe the numbers cited for informal kinship are far below the true count.

If you would like to read the materials used by the speakers, visit the Women's Policy Inc.'s website and scroll down to past events, then October 17, 2012, Kinship Care. There is a list of speakers, their bios and their materials. I've also included links to the presentations below:

Kinship Care in the United States: What the Research Tells Us

Kinship Care: Challenges and Opportunities

Kinship Care: Challenges and Opportunities

I wish I could have been there.

Editor's Note: Jan wears many hats, as she is the chair of NFPA's kinship subcommittee, involved with the Mason County Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and is the kinship chair for the Michigan Association for Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Parents.

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