Foster Kinship http://www.fosterkinship.org Help Keep Home in the Family Fri, 19 Jun 2015 23:03:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.6 Foster Talk with Dr. John http://www.fosterkinship.org/foster-talk-with-dr-john/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=foster-talk-with-dr-john http://www.fosterkinship.org/foster-talk-with-dr-john/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 02:32:37 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1965 Foster Kinship’s Executive Director, Ali Caliendo, was interviewed on the “Foster Talk with Dr. John” podcast as part of a discussion about the book to which she contributed, “The Kinship Parenting Toolbox”. Listen to the podcast HERE. Listen to the podcast HERE.

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Foster Kinship’s Executive Director, Ali Caliendo, was interviewed on the “Foster Talk with Dr. John” podcast as part of a discussion about the book to which she contributed, “The Kinship Parenting Toolbox”. Listen to the podcast HERE.

The Kinship Parenting ToolboxFoster Talk with Dr. John

Listen to the podcast HERE.

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Civil Engagement Interview http://www.fosterkinship.org/civil-engagement-interview/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=civil-engagement-interview http://www.fosterkinship.org/civil-engagement-interview/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 01:52:26 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1955 Foster Kinship’s Executive Director, Ali Caliendo, was interviewed on UNLV’s Civil Engagement Radio Show with Ken Lange. Listen to learn more about kinship care issues in Las Vegas.

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Foster Kinship’s Executive Director, Ali Caliendo, was interviewed on UNLV’s Civil Engagement Radio Show with Ken Lange. Listen to learn more about kinship care issues in Las Vegas.

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“Train Your Brain” Behavior Modification Tool http://www.fosterkinship.org/train-brain-behavior-modification-tool/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=train-brain-behavior-modification-tool http://www.fosterkinship.org/train-brain-behavior-modification-tool/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:39:23 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1923 At our free kinship educational group on Tuesday evening, we heard from a  Compass Behavioral Health counselor about a trick to help with difficult behavior. The group found it so useful, I asked her to allow me to share it with you all here! When working with children who are…

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At our free kinship educational group on Tuesday evening, we heard from a  Compass Behavioral Health counselor about a trick to help with difficult behavior. The group found it so useful, I asked her to allow me to share it with you all here!

When working with children who are displaying difficult behaviors, a trick called “train your brain” may help. Many children in kinship and foster care have had their brain “programmed” with negative behaviors, choices, and body reactions, hurt and sadness. Some of this “programming” can even happen in utero (drug exposure, exposure to domestic violence). Many of these kids have not been taught to handle anger and sadness so they could make positive behavior choices. Some children don’t even know how to explain and define the emotions they are feeling! Nobody knew how to “train their brain” with positive/good emotions, reactions and behaviors.

hThe goal of “train your brain” is to help children change negative behavior into positive behavior through emotional identification, body awareness and calming techniques.  The phrase “train your brain” gives kids a very simple clue to behavior you want them to change. Use the phrase “train your brain to…” and complete the sentence with whatever behavior you want to work on. For example, you can say to a child that is always leaning back dangerously in their chair, “I need you to train your brain to keep you chair on the ground.” Be consistent and say it every time you see the behavior. The phrase “train your brain” will become a cue for the child to stop and think about their next choice and reaction. When you see the child keeping the chair on the ground, reinforce their good work by saying, “WOW! I love how you trained your brain to keep the chair on the ground!” When you begin this with a child, it is best to start with just one simple behavior. When the child starts learning better choices, the wrong behaviors become less and less and more of your brain becomes strong with positive behaviors.

Another key part of this work is helping the child relax, breathe and notice their body in moments of calm. When children act out or throw tantrums we often tell them to “calm down, take deep breaths.” However, the child can not “calm down” in moments of stress if they don’t understand in their body what calm feels like or what deep breathing means. Breathing exercises, yoga stretching, and silly relaxation done regularly while the child is calm will help build those neural pathways and help them recognize when their body feels relaxed. This, combined with teaching emotion words and how it feels in the body,  is the first step to helping children recognize a body reaction when it begins so they may understand the emotion that comes with that reaction.

Thanks to Compass for this great tool to try! Tell us in the comments- what behavior modification techniques have worked for you? How do you “train your own brain” to stay calm during stressful moments with your kids? What relaxation techniques do you rely on? I know I could use a few extra tips!

TIP: Make sure to join our MeetUp Group and come to upcoming educational groups with your kids for more information and support on raising kids with challenging behaviors! Bonus- the kids will have a workshop of their own and be led through relaxation exercises like the ones described above!

Be Well!

Ali, Foster Kinship Founder/Director

 

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You Made it Possible! 2014 Foster Kinship Annual Report http://www.fosterkinship.org/made-possible-2014-foster-kinship-annual-report/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=made-possible-2014-foster-kinship-annual-report http://www.fosterkinship.org/made-possible-2014-foster-kinship-annual-report/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:54:04 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1881 We are proud of all we accomplished in 2014, and of all we have done since we opened our doors in 2012! But reflecting on the past year, what has been most valuable is all we have learned from kinship families and how much their strength inspires us to do…

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We are proud of all we accomplished in 2014, and of all we have done since we opened our doors in 2012! But reflecting on the past year, what has been most valuable is all we have learned from kinship families and how much their strength inspires us to do more each and every day. In 2015, we will continue our core programs and are thrilled about an expanded partnership with the Department of Family Services that will allow us to reach many more kinship families with support and information needed to make the best decisions for their families.

Thanks to all who have been part of our work. We are so blessed by each supporter and kinship family. What an honor to be able to “help keep home in the family” for another year.

With Gratitude,

Alison Caliendo, Founder and Director of Foster Kinship

Read our 2014 Annual Report here or download a copy: 2014 Foster Kinship Annual Report

2014 Foster Kinship Annual Report

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3rd Annual Fall Festival http://www.fosterkinship.org/3rd-annual-fall-festival/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3rd-annual-fall-festival http://www.fosterkinship.org/3rd-annual-fall-festival/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:58:33 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1806 Foster Kinship presents our 3rd Annual Fall Festival! Come join us for an afternoon of family fun, games, prizes, treats and food!  The event is free for all Kinship families working with Foster Kinship. Foster Kinship 3rd Annual Fall Festival Saturday, November 22nd – 1-4pm Las Vegas Center For Spiritual…

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Foster Kinship presents our 3rd Annual Fall Festival!

Come join us for an afternoon of family fun, games, prizes, treats and food!  The event is free for all Kinship families working with Foster Kinship.

Map of location for Foster Kinship 3rd Annual Fall FestivalFoster Kinship 3rd Annual Fall Festival
Saturday, November 22nd – 1-4pm
Las Vegas Center For Spiritual Living
4325 N. Rancho Blvd. Suites 110&120
FAMILY, FOOD, FUN!!!!

SPACE IS LIMITED!!!!
Must RSVP by November 15th to (702) 546-9988

Click here for directions

Foster Kinship 2014 3rd Annual Family Festival Flier

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Announcing: New Office Location and Expanded Helpline Hours http://www.fosterkinship.org/announcing-new-office-location-expanded-helpline-hours/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=announcing-new-office-location-expanded-helpline-hours http://www.fosterkinship.org/announcing-new-office-location-expanded-helpline-hours/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:33:43 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1790 New Office Location We are thrilled to announce that Foster Kinship has moved! Our new address is 317 S 6th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. For those of you familiar with our first office location on Paradise, we are no longer in Airport Center, so make sure to find us…

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New Office Location

We are thrilled to announce that Foster Kinship has moved! Our new address is 317 S 6th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. For those of you familiar with our first office location on Paradise, we are no longer in Airport Center, so make sure to find us at our new address!

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 4.28.20 PMWe are located in the downtown Las Vegas area in the Work in Progress Building located across from Las Vegas Academy. Cross Streets are 6th and Bridger.

There is plenty of metered street parking. Parking for up to 2 hours will be reimbursed.

Bus Stop info: There are many stops located within .25 miles of the office. Please visit http://rtcws.rtcsnv.com/transit/stoplocator/stoplocator.cfm to find your route.

Feel free to stop by and say “hi” if you are in the area! Director Ali Caliendo will be at that location Monday afternoons and Wednesdays.

Get Directions

Just a reminder, support groups are still held at the regular location 4325 N Rancho, Suite 120.

Expanded Helpline Hours

We are also thrilled to be bringing on additional staff to expand our helpline hours. Please call (702) 546-9988 each THURSDAY between 10 AM-3 PM to speak to our client specialist.

 

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Support for Kinship Caregivers http://www.fosterkinship.org/support-kinship-caregivers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=support-kinship-caregivers http://www.fosterkinship.org/support-kinship-caregivers/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:41:08 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1748 First published in the Clark County Caregiver Courier (May 2014). Alison Caliendo, founder and director of Foster Kinship, has had the privilege of working with individuals who are raising their relative’s children for over four years. New kinship caregivers often tell her they didn’t think twice about assuming responsibility for…

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First published in the Clark County Caregiver Courier (May 2014).

Alison Caliendo, founder and director of Foster Kinship, has had the privilege of working with individuals who are raising their relative’s children for over four years. New kinship caregivers often tell her they didn’t think twice about assuming responsibility for their relative’s children. When time came to take a relative’s child or children into their care they opened their hearts and homes. However, amidst all the changes they soon discover it was extremely difficult to navigate the systems around them in order to support the children they welcomed into their homes.

While similar to foster parenting, raising your relative comes with additional challenges and opportunities that require specialized support. Relatives often face bureaucratic, financial, and emotional struggles. A great-grandmother was in tears as she talked about being unable to get a social security card for her great-granddaughter. A grandfather broke down, disheartened after his application for welfare assistance for his four grandchildren was wrongly rejected. A young aunt talked about how alone she felt raising her nephews while protecting them from their mother- her sister- who is an addict and a prostitute. While these are all individual and difficult situations, these caregivers are not alone, and have all found strength, help and support through Foster Kinship, a local program founded to specifically address the needs of kinship families.

If you are raising a relative, you are not alone, and support is available. Foster Kinship is a 501c3 nonprofit with the exclusive mission to provide support, advocacy and resources to kinship families in Clark County.

Foster Kinship programs and services include a weekly telephone helpline, the Kinship Center, monthly support groups (dinner and childcare included), monthly educational meetings, quarterly family events and limited case management.

As you begin to seek resources to parent your relative’s child most effectively, Foster Kinship is here to explain some of the issues you may encounter and suggest strategies to overcome them effectively. All of Foster Kinship services are completely free to anyone raising a relative’s child in Clark County, NV. You are encouraged to learn more by visiting www.FosterKinshp.org, calling (702) KIN-9988 or sending an email to info@fosterkinship.org.

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Help “Keep Home in the Family” During the NV Big Give! http://www.fosterkinship.org/givebig/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=givebig http://www.fosterkinship.org/givebig/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:21:18 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1603 Why give to Foster Kinship during the Nevada’s Big Give donation drive? Check our our new PSA featuring kinship families and director Ali Caliendo explaining why “keeping home in the family” is important to over 19,000 kids in Nevada! Let us know your thoughts, and if you can, donate today:…

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Why give to Foster Kinship during the Nevada’s Big Give donation drive?

Check our our new PSA featuring kinship families and director Ali Caliendo explaining why “keeping home in the family” is important to over 19,000 kids in Nevada! Let us know your thoughts, and if you can, donate today: www.fosterkinship.org/biggive!

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RSVP Now for Spring Celebration April 12, 2014 http://www.fosterkinship.org/rsvp-now-spring-celebration-april-12-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rsvp-now-spring-celebration-april-12-2014 http://www.fosterkinship.org/rsvp-now-spring-celebration-april-12-2014/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 20:01:44 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1584 Date: Saturday, April 12th Time: 11-2 PM Location: Children’s Memorial Park Picnic Shelter B (6601 W Gowan Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89108) Activities: Egg Hunt Bingo, Pictures with the Easter Bunny, BBQ, Kids games/activities and kinship resources for adults. Cost: Free to kinship families. This event is only open to…

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Kinship Family Easter Egg Hunt Las Vegas
Date: Saturday, April 12th
Time: 11-2 PM
Location: Children’s Memorial Park Picnic Shelter B (6601 W Gowan Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89108)
Activities: Egg Hunt Bingo, Pictures with the Easter Bunny, BBQ, Kids games/activities and kinship resources for adults.
Cost: Free to kinship families. This event is only open to people raising a relative’s child and their whole family.
RSVP to 546-9988 or Ali@fosterkinship.org with name, phone number, email, number of adults and number of children.

More info: http://www.meetup.com/Kinship-Caregivers-Support-Group/events/168228822/

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Placement versus Licensure: The Dilemma for Formal Kinship Care http://www.fosterkinship.org/placement-versus-licensure-dilemma-formal-kinship-care/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=placement-versus-licensure-dilemma-formal-kinship-care http://www.fosterkinship.org/placement-versus-licensure-dilemma-formal-kinship-care/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 05:37:10 +0000 http://www.fosterkinship.org/?p=1568 Originally published in Fostering Families Today Jan/Feb 2014 Issue. Placement versus Licensure: The Dilemma for Formal Kinship Care One of my first experiences with a formal kinship family was with a spirited grandmother named Annette When CPS called, she unquestioningly accepted placement of her five grandchildren. The children’s mother had…

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Originally published in Fostering Families Today Jan/Feb 2014 Issue.

Placement versus Licensure: The Dilemma for Formal Kinship Care

One of my first experiences with a formal kinship family was with a spirited grandmother named Annette When CPS called, she unquestioningly accepted placement of her five grandchildren. The children’s mother had been murdered in front of them, and their father subsequently incarcerated. These children were lucky to have a stable relative willing to step in and provide fierce love and protection in addition to a connection to family and familiar community and activities, including school and church.

However, after several months had passed, Annette found she was spending much of her time fighting to become a licensed caregiver so she could get access to foster parent training, education in trauma informed parenting, and financial reimbursement. This was  time she would have preferred to spend providing additional care for the children, but the cost of their care had quickly drained her savings and she had to take a leave of absence from work to provide transportation for their many required appointments. She didn’t know how she could continue to support them.

A licensing worker had visited her home and said she would have to move into a larger house in order to have the correct number of bedrooms as required by licensing regulations. Event though the cost of moving was prohibitive, the child welfare agency said there was nothing they could do to assist her.

Annette did not understand why she had been approved for the placement of the five children if she did not meet the requirements for licensure. She was confused, overwhelmed, scared, and nearly broke caring for the five children. But Annette’s experience was not unique. While the number of unlicensed formal kinship caregivers is unknown, qualitative data suggests the number is not inconsequential, and this number is only likely to grow as the reliance on formal kinship care continues to expand.

Formal kinship care has increased over the past decades due in part to its well-documented advantages. Relative homes are just as safe or safer than non-relative placements. Children are less likely to be re-abused or neglected, they experience less placement moves, and are more likely to be kept with their siblings. If needed, kinship caregivers are more likely to provide permanency in the form of guardianship or adoption. Most uniquely, relative placements allow vulnerable children to maintain family and community connections (Kids are Waiting and Generations United, 2007).

While the increasing use of formal kinship care is positive, there are several factors at work that create a population of unlicensed caregivers. What relatives usually don’t understand when they receive the initial request to accept placement is that there are two different decision-making divisions in a child welfare agency: a division that makes a placement decision and a division that makes a licensing decision. These two divisions are often at odds and result in conflicting standards for relatives.

While Federal law supports relative placement, each state dictates separate requirements for foster parent licensing. These licensing requirements can go beyond what is required to meet the standards for placement; for example, the specific number and use of bedrooms for children. Relatives who meet the child protection standards for placement and already have children placed in their home may be surprised they do not meet the licensing requirements.

This disconnect in placement and licensing policy creates a two-tiered system of care for children placed in formal kinship care. Annett was denied a licensure based on the inadequate number of bedrooms in her home. With the placement, but without licensing, Annette became an unlicensed formal kinship caregiver, doing the work of a foster parent with no financial support.

Unlicensed relatives are provided a different level of support by the child welfare agency. Annette desired to be licensed in order to receive the same access to training and financial reimbursement  as foster parents. Unlicensed kinship caregivers have very limited access to training, support, and financial resources. For the foster children in their homes, unlicensed relatives are potentially unable to provide the same quality of care as licensed relatives. The children in unlicensed homes do not receive access to the same support, such as a caregiver trained in trauma informed care, a fully inspected home, and supplemental financial resources to sustain placement.

Kinship caregivers are exceedingly vulnerable to the financial strain of additional children. When relatives already have low income, accepting children without the option of licensing quickly pushes these families into poverty, forcing them to rely on other less adequate public support.

The gap between federal law around relative placement and state policies around licensing creates two different experiences of foster care for children in formal kinship care that varies in disparity state by state. Each state’s licensing policies must move toward being able to keep up with the needs of children in kinship care so this two-tiered system of care does not become further entrenched.

Let’s reflect back on Annette’s situation. The state placed Annette’s grandchildren with her and then denied licensing, creating incredible hardship for a family already hit by tragedy. Yet Annette, like many kinship caregivers, continued to care for the children as best she could, signing up for welfare and food stamps for the children and pawning most things of value in her home.

For many kinship families unable to find the resources to be licensed, the children, who are at the heart of child welfare, are the ones who lose most of all. To begin to improve the experience and outcomes for these foster children and their unlicensed kinship caregivers we must take a critical look at how law, policy and practice intersect to create the two-tiered system (licensed or unlicensed) that currently exists for formal kinship caregivers, advocate for more compatible placement and licensing standards, and reach out to surround kinship caregivers and the children in their homes with support the current policies fail to provide.

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