- Who are Kinship Caregivers?
- The Importance of Serving Kinship Caregivers
- Resources Available through the Kinship Caregivers Support Program
- Contact Information for Kinship Caregivers Support Program
- Resources Available through the Kinship Navigator Program
- Contact Information for Kinship Navigator Program
- Additional Resources for Kinship Caregivers
Grandparents and other family members raising a relative’s child are known as Kinship Caregivers. In Washington State, over 65,000 grandparents or others are Kinship Caregivers, and that number is growing.
Kinship Care is widely recognized as preferable to other placement options such as foster care. Children in kinship care situations have their cultural traditions supported and enriched. Family traditions are carried on in familiar surroundings and by familiar adult role models. Finally, connections and relationships which are built during kinship care will continue for the child’s lifetime.
While Kinship Caregivers fill a very important role, they face many challenges, such as:
- Meeting basic financial needs including transportation, medical care and affordable housing;
- Navigating the legal system to secure the most appropriate legal relationship with children in their care;
- Navigating the social service system, including support services such as respite care, child care and counseling;
- Finding information about services, policies, and laws related to kinship care;
- Being acknowledged and respected by public agencies.
Help accessing resources to address these challenges can assist Kinship Caregivers in their very important role.
Often Kinship Caregivers face immediate financial challenges they have difficulty meeting. The Kinship Caregivers Support Program can provide financial help for Kinship Caregivers who are income eligible to meet short term needs such as:
- First/last month rent deposit;
- School clothes or uniforms;
- Transitional Counseling;
- Legal fees related to uncontested custody cases;
- Furniture; and
- Utility Costs.
For more information on the Kinship Caregivers Support Program, contact:
- Island County: Opportunity Council
- San Juan County: Opportunity Council
- Skagit County: Catholic Community Services
- Whatcom County: Opportunity Council
Kinship Caregivers are often unaware of available support. Kinship Navigators connect Caregivers with community resources, including healthcare, financial and legal services, support groups and emergency funds.
Almost all Kinship Care families qualify for some benefits. Kinship Navigators provide crucial links between Kinship Caregivers and these services, to help create healthier environments and keep children out of the child welfare system.
Whatcom County: Northwest Regional Council
1-800- 585-6749; 360-676-6749 or email.
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
Washington State has been a leader in providing support and services for Kinship Caregivers. Excellent information is available through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services website, including information specific to Kinship Caregivers at: http://www.dshs.wa.gov/kinshipcare/index.shtml
Specific Topics/Resources through that site include:
- Legal Options: www.dshs.wa.gov/kinshipcare/legalissues.shtml
- Benefits and Services: www.dshs.wa.gov/kinshipcare/benefits.shtml
- Healthcare: www.dshs.wa.gov/kinshipcare/healthcare.shtml
- Publications/Additional links: www.dshs.wa.gov/kinshipcare/publication.shtml
Other Helpful sites include:
- AARP: www.aarp.org/grandparents
- Generations United: www.gu.org
- Grandparents Resource Center: www.grc4usa.org
- The Brookdale Foundation: www.brookdalefoundation.org