RSVP Now for Spring Celebration April 12, 2014

March 12, 2014 Posted by Ali

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/

Placement versus Licensure: The Dilemma for Formal Kinship Care

February 20, 2014 Posted by Ali

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.

End of Year Giving

December 10, 2013 Posted by Ali

Every day in Clark County, relatives step in to parent and protect children when the natural parents are no longer able or willing to do so. Some of these relatives work with Family Services as foster parents when the child is removed from the home.

But what you may not know is that for every child in the foster care system, there are 25 children being cared for by relatives outside the system. In Clark County, it is estimated that relatives are caring for more than 35,000 children.

When children are unable to be with their parents, relatives provide the critical gifts of love, family connection and a familiar home that contributes to the long-term success of the child.

While a kinship arrangement is usually best for the child, relatives face multiple challenges when they take on the role of parent. While there are many resources for foster parents, there are extremely limited financial, emotional, legal and physical resources available to grandparents and other kinship caregivers. Foster Kinship was founded to help relatives address these challenges by providing free support and resources for kinship families.

Foster Kinship is the only organization in Las Vegas dedicated to supporting kinship caregivers and giving vulnerable children the family advantage.  We rely on the support of our community partners and thank you in advance for your consideration of a end of year donation this year.

You can make your donation online here: http://nvbiggive.razoo.com/story/Fosterkinship or send a check made payable to Foster Kinship to 5030 S. Paradise Road, Suite A118, Las Vegas, NV 89119.

We sincerely thank you for your support as we “help keep home in the family” for some of the most vulnerable children in Clark County.

Kid Friendly Holiday Activities in Las Vegas

November 18, 2013 Posted by Ali

The Las Vegas strip is not known for being the best place to bring children, but don’t overlook the benefits of having some of the world’s best attractions right here in our backyard! The lights, colors, sounds and sheer size of the strip make a magical experience for kids, especially around the holidays. Keep it kid friendly by just strolling around the outside of the casinos!

Walk around the fountains at the Bellagio, listen to some music at the Hawaiian Marketplace, watch the light show on Fremont Street (have an adult run in for fried Oreos at Mermaids- 99 cents for three!), or grab a crepe at the Paris and eat it under the “Eiffel” tower.

Thank you to guest author Kendra Thornton for providing us with some additional suggestions to do with children in Las Vegas this time of year!  So pack the kids in the car and head to the strip or downtown for some fun activities- tourist style!

Experience the Magic of New York for a Fraction of the Cost in Las Vegas

By Kendra Thornton

If you’re like me, you enjoy the hustle and bustle of New York City during the holidays. But, NYC is just so expensive that we’ve decided to have a New York-style holiday vacation for a fraction of the cost in Las Vegas. Now, I know that nobody wants their kids’ holiday memories to be about gambling, strip clubs and drunken revelry. But Las Vegas isn’t only about those activities, and the truth is that traveling to Las Vegas is cheap because businesses want visitors to spend money in the casinos. You’d be surprised by the variety of inexpensive, family-friendly cultural amenities, accommodation and activities. Here are five Las Vegas holiday attractions that will give your family a taste of the Big Apple.

1. New York New York Hotel

Enjoy the perks of NYC without all the hassle and expense. This faux-city is built just like the real thing, with replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Their arcade is the home of the world’s first roller coaster to feature a 180-degree loop. Your kids will love being able to watch the coaster from your room. You’ll love staying in a luxury room for a knock-off price.

2. Shopping at Caesar’s Palace

If you like to shop, then visit the Forum at Caesar’s Palace. With over 160 stores, it’s even better than Madison Avenue. Choose from affordable shops to high-end boutiques like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dior. Its unique atmosphere simulates ancient Roman streets. Ride the spiral escalator to see replicas of the Trevi and Triton Fountains, the giant reflecting pool and the beautiful skylight.

3. Serendipity 3

You’ll enjoy this offshoot of the NYC restaurant of the same name. Kids love the funky decor and tasty menu. Beat the heat with their signature drink – frozen hot chocolate. They’re also known for their super-sized versions of classic favorites, like monster spaghetti and meatballs and dinosaur-sized BBQ ribs. It’s right on the Strip, overlooking the iconic fountains at Caesar’s Palace.

4. Go Ice Skating

If ice-skating at Rockefeller Center is your idea of a quintessential holiday activity, then visit the winter wonderland at the Venetian. They’re creating a snowy scene that will make you forget you’re in the desert. Sip on hot cider while the kids ice skate. Listen to live carolers as you enjoy the light show. You’ll never miss the real snow falling in NYC.

5. The Nutcracker Ballet

Crazy shows featuring Elvis impersonators are the only cultural events in Las Vegas. Vegas offers many cultural amenities. The Nevada Ballet Theater performs the traditional Nutcracker ballet. This larger-than-life performance is just as magical as the Balanchine production in NYC. Treat your family to this holiday classic that’s so closely associated with the season.

There’s no denying the magic of New York City, but don’t break the bank to give your family these holiday memories. Las Vegas offers an affordable alternative to many of the same dining, shopping and cultural experiences of New York.

2nd Annual Fall Kinship Family Event

November 11, 2013 Posted by Ali

Food, Fun and Family!

All kinship families in Las Vegas are invited to Foster Kinship’s second annual Fall Family Event, sponsored by the Las Vegas Center for Spiritual Living. Guests who RSVP will also receive a box of non-perishable food perfect for a holiday meal and a small grocery voucher. 2013 Kinship Thanksgiving Invite

When: Saturday, November 23

Time: 2-5 PM

Where: The Las Vegas Center for Spiritual Living 4325 North Rancho Drive, Suites 110-120, Las Vegas, NV.

RSVP by November 20th: (702) 546-9988

 

Free Kinship Family Event: BBQ and Children’s Activities

September 11, 2013 Posted by Ali

We are pleased to announce a free family event for any kinship families residing in Clark County.

Let’s celebrate the start of fall together! Join us for a delicious BBQ picnic, shave ice, music, and fun activities for the whole family! This event is free but space is limited to 100 people so sign up today!

This event is made possible by the partnership with the Centers for Spiritual Living in Las Vegas. September 14th is the Worldwide Day of Service.

Date: Saturday, September 14th

Time: 1-3 PM

Location: Children’s Memorial Park, 6601 W Gowan Rd, Las Vegas, NV

RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/Kinship-Caregivers-Support-Group/events/135649502/

 

Back to School Event for Kids in Kinship and Foster Care

August 22, 2013 Posted by Ali

Yesterday’s Back to School, Back to Basics event served over 300 children in foster and relative care with backpacks and food to get the school year started right!

This event was made possible by a partnership between Department of Family Services’ Peggy’s Attic, Foster Kinship,  Fostering Southern Nevada and Three Square, as well as generous donations from individuals and organizations in our Las Vegas community.

Click the link to watch the complete Channel 8 live news coverage from yesterday’s Back to School, Back to Basics event:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq87MHNf-k8

Review Journal Coverage of the Peggy’s Attic and Foster Kinship Back to Basics Event:

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/peggys-attic-shares-backpack-bounty-foster-kids

Las Vegas Back to School Drive for Kinship Families

July 22, 2013 Posted by Ali

FK_BacktoSchoolDriveFoster Kinship is collecting much needed school supplies to distribute to Las Vegas kinship families and give the kids a great start to the school year!

We are accepting donations of school supplies and backpacks (new and gently used) at our office location from 1-5 PM on the following dates: August 1, August 8, August 10 and August 22.

Drop items off at 5030 S Paradise Road, Suite A118, Las Vegas, NV 89119 during those times and you will receive a tax-deductible receipt for your generous donation!

Thank you! Together, we can help keep home in the family and make the family a great place to be!

Download and share the Back to School Drive Flyer! FK_BacktoSchoolDrive

Hiring: Community Engagement Intern

July 1, 2013 Posted by Ali

We are looking for a community engagement intern to assist with outreach in the Las Vegas area.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT INTERN
Foster Kinship, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides support and resources for individuals raising their relative’s children, is seeking a Community Engagement Volunteer Intern to work with our executive director for a minimum of 12 weeks, possibly longer.

GENERAL INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION

 Foster Kinship is looking for an enthusiastic student who is eager to learn more about various aspects of community engagement, including developing community partnerships and initiatives to strengthen in impact of services and programs, identify client needs, and form a community stakeholder steering committee to direct future engagement activities.  This internship will be designed to help the intern learn about many facets of community engagement through hands-on project based experience.

BASIC INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION/DUTIES

Responsibilities may include:

  • Schedule, implement, and periodically suggest new community-based programs, partnerships, and other engagement initiatives;
  • Identify, initiate, and deepen relationships with various community stakeholders;
  • Form a steering committee of community stakeholders and facilitate regular meetings;
  • Implement meetings, surveys, and other ways for communicating with, and receiving feedback from, the community about Foster Kinship and it’s programs as related to client need;
  • Attend community meetings on behalf of Foster Kinship to hear community concerns, provide information about community engagement, and advocate for participation;
  • Attend non-Foster Kinship programs and events relevant to better understand community interests and activities;
  • Maintain various databases of groups of stakeholders;
  • Create mechanisms for internal and external evaluation of engagement initiatives;
  • Distribute information to the community and broader publics through multiple channels;
  • Distribute information to Foster Kinship staff and volunteers regarding engagement activities;
  • Successfully integrate engagement work into all aspects of Foster Kinship  and enlist the support of executive director to do so;
  • Compile collected information for Executive Director to regularly present to Foster Kinship Board of Directors.

INTERNSHIP DETAILS

Location & Hours: This unpaid internship will be based in our main office location: 5030 South Paradise Road, Suite A118, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Cross streets: Paradise and Tropicana. Specific days and number of hours are flexible and can be negotiated based on course load.

Start & End Dates: This internship is available now for any interested students. A minimum commitment of 12 weeks is preferred.

STUDENT BENEFITS

This internship will allow the student to bring their classroom knowledge into the real world and deeply broaden their knowledge and portfolio through hands-on application in a nonprofit environment. Foster Kinship also offers the intern:

  • The opportunity to work one-on-one with colleagues who have broad and deep experience in nonprofit management, community engagement, facilitation, and communication
  • Hands-on experience to build portfolio and professional contacts
  • Participation (when not working on other projects) in workshops, programs, or events. The number of opportunities will depend on the length of the volunteer assignment.
  • School credit, depending on the requirements of the volunteer’s school

JOB QUALIFICATIONS

Education: Minimally, should be a second year college student or equivalent, prefer an individual that is pursuing or just completed a degree in Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Counseling or related field.

Job Experience: Previous office experience preferred.

Special Knowledge and Skills

  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and writing skills;
  • Outstanding organizational and follow-through skills. Strict attention to detail is a must; ability to multi-talk is essential;
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Experience in Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access;
  • Experience and success working in partnership with local residents and community organizations;
  • Familiarity with the Las Vegas area and culture;
  • Effective communication, both in person and in writing (fluency in Spanish is strongly preferred);
  • Proven ability to listen and ask questions with empathy and inquiry;
  • Experience organizing and facilitating groups of people and collecting and reporting feedback a plus.

HOW TO APPLY

This unpaid volunteer internship is for currently enrolled or recently graduated students. Please do not apply if you are looking for a full-time position.

Applicants should submit a resume, letter of interest, completed Foster Kinship intern application and writing sample to Alison Caliendo by email to Ali@fosterkinship.org. Applicants may be required to pass a background check.

Foster Kinship is an Equal Opportunity Employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

 

Foster Kinship July Events

July 1, 2013 Posted by Ali

View the calendar here.

UPCOMING HOURS AND EVENTS

Tuesday July 2: 2PM-5PM Telephone Helpline

(702) KIN-9988

July 3-6 OFFICE CLOSED- HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Tuesday July 9: 2 PM-5 PM Telephone Helpline

(702) KIN-9988

Wednesday July 10: 12PM- 1PM Office Hours

Foster Kinship Office (No Appointment Needed)

Thursday July 11: 2PM- 5PM Office Hours

Foster Kinship Office (No Appointment Needed)

Saturday July 13: 3:30PM-5PM SUPPORT GROUP Foster Kinship Office- Conference Room.

Tuesday July 16: 2PM-5PM Telephone Helpline

(702) KIN-9988

Saturday July 20: 10AM- 4PM Holistic Health Fair supporting Foster Kinship.

4325 N. Rancho Drive, Suite 110, Las Vegas, NV 89130

Tuesday July 23: 2PM-5PM Telephone Helpline

(702) KIN-9988

Thursday July 25: 2PM- 5PM Office Hours

Foster Kinship Office (No Appointment Needed)

Tuesday July 30: 2PM-5PM Telephone Helpline

(702) KIN-9988

 
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