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 firstname.lastname@example.org.