Posts Tagged: ‘Vegas’

Las Vegas Kinship Caregiver Support Groups

July 8, 2012 Posted by Ali

Our next support group meeting is this Saturday- July 14th from 2:00-3:00 at 5030 South Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89119. We meet in the conference room of Building A.  Parking is free anywhere in the Airport Center Parking lot.

Come and meet with other individuals who are taking care of their relative’s children in the Las Vegas area. We will discuss the joys and challenges of raising your grandchild, niece or nephew, or other relative. We will also share best practices and resources for kinship caregivers.

Foster Kinship will provide free printed resource guides for relative caregivers in Clark County.

Drinks and snacks will be provided. Meetings are held in the conference room of Building A- next to the Foster Kinship office.

Meetings are free and open to anyone in Clark County, NV who is caring for a relative, formally or informally. No restriction on caregiver age or the custody status of the child.

http://www.meetup.com/Kinship-Caregivers-Support-Group/events/70432152/

We hope to see you there! Have a great week! -Ali

Support Gap in Kinship Care

July 8, 2012 Posted by Ali

Happy Sunday! Every week or so I browse the web to gather kinship news from across the US and post it in our news section here. This week I came across a well written blog post that calls out the benefits of kinship care for children and the lacking governmental and financial support for kinship carers by John Oliver Santiago for the New American Media Entho Blog that I would like to highlight.

Support Gap in Kinship Care

“There are currently 2.7 million kids in the U.S. who are under kinship care. And according to a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this number has increased 18% from 2001 to 2010. There are many ways children can end up in kinship care including parental death, incarceration, abuse, or service in the military.

Kinship care includes children who are currently under the care of non-parental relatives: grandparents, uncles, aunts, or family friends, and can be broken down into two types: private or public. Private kinship is an informal arrangement made within the family, while public kinship is made through the foster care system.

Since one in every four foster kids are already living with relatives, it’s surprising that more aren’t placed under public kinship care. The foster system is a highly bureaucratic process meant to ensure the utter safety of these kids, but has this produced an oversight where kinship care is leapfrogged and kids in the foster system are placed with strangers?

For example, a longtime friend has been trying to gain custody of her two younger sisters for the past few years. Though she and her father live together and show a capacity to provide for the two sisters, they’ve only succeeded in gaining visitation rights and time spent with the girls. The many legalities that the family has to go through to gain custody has only brought further emotional toll on all parties involved.

According to the study, placing kids in kinship care eases the emotional toll of parental removal. But kinship care is also burdened with many problems, namely a lack of government support.”to read the complete post, visit the blog here.

If you have any personal stories of experience with kinship care you would like to share here, please contact ali@fosterkinship.org.

Guardianship Resources in Nevada

June 12, 2012 Posted by Ali

If you are caring for your relative and foresee it will be longer than a few weeks, you may want to establish legal standing so that you are able to protect the child, provide some stability and be able to make medical and educational decisions for the child. One way relatives can pursue legal standing is through guardianship, depending on the specific circumstances of your situation*.

In Clark County, guardianship cases are handled by Family Court- a division of the Eighth Judicial District. The laws governing guardianship are covered in Chapter 159 of the Nevada Revised Statues.

What is guardianship? A guardian is one person agreeing to be responsible for another person, another person and their estate, or another person’s estate. A guardianship of the person allows the legal guardian the ability to make legal decisions regarding schooling, medical care, religion and other aspects of day-to-day life.

Outside of adoption, guardianship is the safest, most stable arrangement for a relative raising a child. It provides legal and physical custody. It is the legal transfer of custody to someone other than a parent.

Guardianship does not terminate parental rights, but it does suspend them. The advantage to guardianship is control. It grants the guardian the legal authority to enroll the child in school, consent to medical treatment, living situations (within the state), and make many other decisions.

Guardianship has some downsides as well. The cost to petition the court for guardianship, especially if you are using a lawyer, and/or your petition is contested, can be expensive. In addition there are emotional risks. You must prove that it is in the child’s best interest to be with you, which means you are building a case against the parent.

In Nevada there are two guardianship options to consider:

  • Six Month Temporary Guardianship: NV law allows for an informal type of guardianship that does not require court approval. The parents of the minor child can fill out this form which appoints a temporary guardian. Temporary guardianships can be used for school and medical purposes. They can be renewed after the six months, and are renewal and terminable at will of the parent. Click here to download a Short-Term Guardianship form and instructions from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. This type of guardianship works if you have a good relationship with the child’s parents, if the child’s parents consent, and if it is a short term situation.
  • Court Ordered Guardianship: A legal guardianship requires a court order and it is a more complex legal process best done with the support of a lawyer. If you don’t follow the correct process of filing and notifying the right individuals your petition will not be granted.  However, it is possible to do it yourself, provided you have the right information. The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has free classes and resources.  Once appointed, a guardian must do what is necessary to provide the ward (child in care) with proper care, maintenance, education and support. This includes food, clothing, shelter, necessities, seeking child support from the parents, authorizing medical care, and ensuring proper education and training. The guardians must file an annual report with the court. Guardianship is terminated upon the death of the ward, 18th birthday or high school graduation, if the court feels the guardian is no longer necessary, if the ward moves to a different state, or if a parent petitions the court for termination of guardianship and the court decides to terminate.

GUARDIANSHIP RESOURCES

Clark County:

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada

*Guardianship options may not apply if you are caring for the child after Child Protective Services became involved. If you are working with the Clark County Department of Family Services, you are considered a foster parent, and will not be able to pursue guardianship on your own timeline (although it may be something pursued by DFS). Please review information for relative foster parenting. For information on licensing and kinship foster parenting, you should contact the DFS social worker assigned to your case.

For guardianship questions, please contact the appropriate resources above, or email or call Foster Kinship at (702) KIN-9988 for assistance and additional resources.

Foster Kinship offers free support groups for people who are raising their relative’s children. We understand the multifaceted legal, emotional, and financial difficulties that come with the role. Please join us July 14th from 2:00-3:00 in Conference Room A at 5030 South Paradise Road, Las Vegas 89119.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): What Nevada Kinship Caregivers Need to Know

June 5, 2012 Posted by Ali

According to recent reports[1], less than 12% of kinship families receive TANF support, even though nearly 100% of the children in these families are eligible.

Most children living apart from their parents- including those living with family members- are eligible for cash assistance through TANF, even if the family member they are living with is not eligible.

Full-time relative caregivers do not need legal custody or guardianship to apply for assistance on the child’s behalf.

If caregivers also meet certain income requirements, they may also be eligible for cash grants.

There is great confusion out there about how grandparents and other relatives apply for aid for the children in their care and how that aid is determined. If your relative is eligible for assistance, don’t let misinformation deprive him/her of it.

As a non-parent relative, you may apply for assistance for your child only OR for your child and yourself. Before beginning to apply for any of the TANF programs, it is wise to obtain a copy of the application and the requirements to qualify.

Nevada TANF Benefits are managed by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Welfare and Supportive Services:https://dwss.nv.gov/

PLEASE NOTE: This information is from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Foster Kinship is not associated with the welfare department and encourages all relative caregivers to speak to a caseworker at the closest welfare office for specific answers to their particular situation.

Status you may qualify for include:

Needy Caretaker- a relative, other than a legal parent, requesting assistance for themselves and a child. A relative’s INCOME and RESOURCES are used to determine eligibility when applying as a Needy Caretaker.

Non-Needy Caretaker-  a relative, other than a legal parent, requesting assistance for the child only. INCOME is used to determine eligibility when applying as a non-needy caretaker.  However, your income should not count. You are filling out the application for your relative, not yourself. It shouldn’t matter what your income and circumstances are- if the state offers child-only grants (NV does), the relative should be eligible for assistance. This is true even if you are the legal guardian. Always double check with several sources before taking no as an answer, even eligibility experts can give you the wrong information.

Nevada Kinship Care Program- To be eligible for a Kinship Care payment, you must:

● be age 62 or older;

● be a non-parent, non-needy relative caregiver (not requesting assistance for yourself.);

● be caring for and residing with a child who is related by blood, adoption or marriage for at least six months;

● file for and obtain Nevada court approval of legal guardianship;

● comply with court imposed requirements;

● relative household members (the child you are requesting assistance for) must have combined income below 275% federal poverty level.

   AND

The child(ren) must meet the age, citizenship, and resource eligibility  requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)  program.

The Division can help you qualify for Kinship Care by:

● assisting you in the application and verification process;

● referring you to legal counsel, contracted with the state of Nevada, who will assist you in pursuing guardianship at little or no cost to you; or

● reimburse the relative caregiver up to $600 for legal counsel sought independently, to obtain guardianship.

Application Process

Apply online- You can apply on line at;
ACCESS NEVADA English
ACCESS NEVADA En Español

Or apply at the office closest to you- if you do not go to the right district office staff will inform you of the correct office location- so call first to confirm. If you ask, staff will accept your application and forward it to the correct office.

Belrose District Office
700 Belrose Street
Las Vegas, NV 89107
(702) 486-1646 – (702) 486-1628 (fax)

Flamingo District Office
3330 Flamingo Road, Suite 55
Las Vegas, NV 89121
(702) 486-9400 (main) – (702) 486-9401 (fax)
(702) 486-9540 (fax)

Henderson District Office
520 Boulder Highway
Henderson, NV 89015
(702) 486-5000 – (702) 486-1270 (fax)

Nellis District Office
611 N Nellis Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89110
(702) 486-4828 – (702) 486-4737 (fax)

Owens District Office
1040 W Owens Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89106
(702) 486-1899 – (702) 486-1802 (fax)

Pahrump District Office
1840 Pahrump Valley Road
Pahrump, NV 89048
(775) 751-7400 – (775) 751-7404 (fax)

Documents Needed for Application: You need proof of the information provided, so it’s very helpful to bring as many of the following items as you can:

  1. Proof of residency (lease agreement, rent receipt, mortgage, utility bills).
  2. A Nevada driver’s license or other identification (ID).
  3. A social security card or proof you have applied for one.
  4. Proof of birth for all persons applying for assistance.
  5. Proof of citizenship for all household members.
  6. Marriage and/or divorce decree.
  7. Proof of school attendance for school age children.
  8. Proof of income received, such as pay stubs or a statement from your employer, Social Security Administration, child support payments, loans, etc.
  9. Latest bank statements and proof of other assets such as vehicles, property.
  10. Verification of household composition (who lives in the home and their relationship to the child(ren)).
  11. Verification of subsidized housing assistance.

Child Support Enforcement: All cases for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and medical programs where the adult and child(ren) receive Medicaid must be referred for Child Support Enforcement. : The responsible relative caregiver who is applying for or receiving TANF NEON or Child Only cash assistance must cooperate with the  Child Support Enforcement Program (CSEP) requirements by:

  1. Surrendering and endorsing all support and/or medical support payments to the state after TANF NEON or Child Only cash benefits are approved.
  2. Providing information on the non-custodial parent (NCP);
  3. Participating in efforts to locate the NCP (absent parent);
  4. Establishing paternity when necessary;
  5. Establishing a child support order;

Failure to cooperate without good cause, will result in the denial or termination of TANF NEON, Child ONLY and/or TANF-Related Medicaid (TRM) for all household members. Medicaid from another program will be considered for the child(ren). If the responsible adult is a pregnant woman, she will continue to receive pregnancy related Medicaid coverage during her pregnancy.

The relative caregiver has the right to claim “good cause”, and request a determination of its validity, for not cooperating with CSEP.

PLEASE NOTE: This information is from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Foster Kinship does not claim to be a welfare representative or expert encourages all relative caregivers to speak to a caseworker at the closest welfare office for specific answers to their particular situation.


[1] Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Policy Report: Stepping Up For Kids, 2012.

New Report Highlights Strengths, Needs of Kinship Caregivers

May 29, 2012 Posted by Ali

The Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT policy report “Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families” was released last week, and shines a bright light on the strengths of kinship caregivers as well as the needs of kinship families.

Kinship care refers to private care without child protective services involvement as well as public kinship care in which families care for children who are involved with the child welfare system. There also is kinship foster care, which describes the subset of children who are placed with relatives but remain in the legal custody of the state.

According to the report, 1 in 11 US children lives in kinship care at some point before the age of 18. Nationally, these 2.7 million children are being raised by grandparents, aunts, and other relatives who step in when parents are unable to raise their children.

The report estimates that in Nevada, 19,000 children are in kinship care with no parents present. Foster Kinship, a Clark County nonprofit supporting individuals caring for their relative’s children, estimates the number of relatives supporting children as much higher when you add in the individuals who are heads of the household and responsible for children other than their own. The 2010 US Census for Clark County, NV shows 19,000 grandparents who are in some way caring for their grandchildren, and the number of children in Clark County, NV living in grandparent-headed homes today (35,451) is up by 5,000 from 2008 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010; Las Vegas Junior League, 2008).

“A growing body of research confirms that, in most circumstances, kinship care is the best option when children cannot live with their own parents,” the report states.  Placement frequency, attachment disorders, caregiver perception of the child and community connection are all more favorable in kinship care than unfamiliar foster care.

However, kinship caregivers are often unprepared for the challenges of “second time parenting” and the multiple systems they will encounter as they raise the child. The caregiver often lacks the necessary legal authority to enroll a child for school or give medical consent.

Caregivers may also be unfamiliar with available government support programs or struggle to access them, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the federal financial aid program for low-income families. Less than 12% of kinship families receive TANF payments, although nearly 100% of the children in these families are eligible.

“Kinship caregivers, whether they obtain assistance from foster care or TANF, receive much less financial support that what the USDA estimates it costs to raise a child,” the report explains.  As an example, a kinship caregiver raising two children outside of the foster care system, TANF benefits would only provide $344 per month, just 17% of the estimated $1,980 needed monthly.

Most families who receive TANF payments still need support, as the caregivers are likely to be poor, single, older, less-educated and unemployed, which makes taking on child care and health insurance costs an extra burden.

The report states private health insurance usually covers only biological and adoptive children, not children in kinship care, and caregivers are often unaware of children’s eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“An advocate for the kinship caregiver is extremely important,” says Ali O’Donnell, founder and executive director of Foster Kinship, “that is why we focus our resources and support exclusively on kinship caregivers. Informing and supporting kinship caregivers strengthens the families and increases the children’s chances for long-term success.”

“Kinship care helps protect children and maintains strong family, community and cultural connections. When children cannot remain safely with their parents, other family and friends can provide a sense of security, positive identity and belonging,” the report summarizes. Foster Kinship’s services aim to “stand in the gap” for caregivers and provide the support and resources to care for their relatives, and help keep home in the family for vulnerable children. Where services are not already available in the community or fall short of the needs of the family, Foster Kinship will work to provide assistance to this population through kinship caregiver support groups, resource direction, family days and financial support.

For more information on kinship caregiver assistance in Clark County, NV, or to find out how you can help, please visit www.fosterkinship.org or call (702) KIN-9988.

Parenting Your Relative: Dealing with Misbehavior

May 13, 2012 Posted by Ali

Children misbehave for several reasons, but we can categorize them into three main buckets:

  1. They don’t know the rules.
  2. They know the rules but break them anyway. This can happen when they are frustrated, angry, in need of attention or unable to control their desires.
  3. They feel tired, sick, hungry or upset and don’t know how to express their needs.

When a child misbehaves, there are three tasks to handle:

  1. Responding to the child so that he/she stops behaving.
  2. Find out if the child needs something- a snack, a nap, a hug, or if they are sick.
  3. Teach the child to know and strive for good behavior.

Tips to Help Prevent Misbehavior:

  1. Set clear rules and routines for bedtimes, bathing, meals and getting to school/activities.
  2. Set clear expectations and outline age appropriate consequences.
  3. Be consistent with rules and stick with them.
  4. Be fair and firm when the child breaks the rules.
  5. Be encouraging when the child is behaving well. Notice and specifically point out how the good behavior is pleasing.  Never take good behavior for granted!

Setting Appropriate Consequences:

  1. Time-outs: Send your child to a safe quiet place aay from people and toys for a few minutes. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 minutes for each year of the child’s age.
  2. Tune-outs: For lesser misbehavior, let the child know you will not respond to them until they stop the undesired behavior.
  3. Remove Privileges: Take something temporarily away that the child values- a toy or game, playtime, etc.

*A note on physical punishment. Most professionals do not recommend spanking as punishment. It teaches that hitting is a method for solving problems and it can be very damaging for children. Please reconsider carefully the use of physical punishment to discipline your child.

What other tips do you have for dealing with misbehavior?

Source: Empowering Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Increasing Empowerment for Kinship Caregivers

April 2, 2012 Posted by Ali

For many individuals raising their relative’s children, a loss of control and lack of empowerment are fundamental issues. While the situations surrounding the need for the kinship care relationship may be overwhelming and traumatic, it is important for caregivers to re-establish or maintain some level of empowerment in order to best take care of themselves and the children in their homes.

Imagine for a moment you receive a call early in the morning. It is the Department of Family Services, and they are asking if you can care for your two grandchildren who have been removed from their parents care the previous night due to allegations of neglect.. How will you raise two children in your small one bedroom apartment? You have retired, so where will the additional funds come from? How will you enroll them in school, and what if they need medical care? Will you be eligible for foster payments? Your relationship with your grandchildren’s parents has been rocky for years due to their erratic lifestyle- how will you cope with the additional stress of raising their children? What will your friends think as your lifestyle dramatically changes in order to parent a second time at an older age? Eventually, you may be faced with the decision to adopt your grandchildren.

A sense of power can diminish when circumstances get out of control. Parenting your relative’s children is no doubt one of those times when power can easily be stripped from the caregiver, as even the most “powerful” individual can begin to doubt their own skills and abilities.  A major factor affecting powerlessness is not having the resources necessary for solving problems. In the common example above, the caregiver can improve their sense of power and control if they understand the resources available to them and the options they have in each system they will encounter. Knowing what those systems are and who to speak to in order to feel heard will increase empowerment. In addition, increasing communication and listening skills in order to advocate for their needs and the needs of their grandchildren will improve their ability to care for their family.

Foster Kinship can assist new relative caregivers with resources and contacts in each system, and is here to listen to their needs and work together to improve the outcomes for their families. Each situation is different, and that is why Foster Kinship will take the time to really understand each family and work to direct them to the right kinship resources- both in Clark County and nationally. In addition, our support groups can connect caregivers with others in similar situations. By increasing the access to resources necessary to solve problems, individuals will be enabled to work more effectively to influence or change the things which are bothering or blocking them.

Call us today and be heard: (702) KIN-9988.

 
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