Vulnerable kinship and foster families who are at further economic and resource risk during COVID-19 uncertainties can find local supports
As KinshipCareCA.org celebrates its two-month anniversary today, its kinship “concierge service” is ramping up to better support grandfamilies, kinship caregivers, foster parents, and service providers to connect with local services and improve youth outcomes. This service is becoming even more important in light of California’s ongoing battle with COVID-19.
Many children and youth are raised by relatives other than their biological parents, but outside of the formal foster care system. For these “kinship care” families, finding resources can be difficult because a new kinship parent may not know where to begin, and may not be aware that supports exist for their situation. Similarly, as with all families, the developmental needs of children are always evolving, so even a veteran kinship parent often needs assistance. The goal of KinshipCareCA.org is to curate a library of updated resources that can be easily navigated by kinship caregivers and kinship service providers. KinshipCareCA.org further supports those who need additional help by beginning conversations with 24/7 kinship navigator specialists. KinshipCareCA.org quickly pivoted prior to its site launch to publish COVID-19 resources with the kinship and foster caregiver in mind. Additionally, the program features access to live help, by phone or text, from resource specialists who are trained on the needs of kinship and foster youth and caregivers.
How KinshipCareCA.org Works
With KinshipCareCA.org, caregivers have free access to a guided search for online resources and a callback 24/7 from a kinship navigation expert in real-time whenever there is a new crisis, question or fork in their kinship journey. This concierge service both builds resilience for navigating the systems of care that are relevant to kinship families in that it puts resources directly at the fingertips of families in need when they need it, and institutes a type of virtual safety net because if the caregiver provides some basic information, a specialist will call back and check in on their experience with the resource.
Launched on World Foster Day
“Kinship and foster parenting is a global response to a growing global situation,” says Agnes Barnard, leader of the South African organization, Kin Culture behind “World Foster Day,” a special day celebrated around the world on May 31 to uplift all types of family caregivers who are raising a child who isn’t biologically theirs. United Way launched KinshipCareCA.org on World Foster Day 2020 as a tribute to caregivers everywhere. World Foster Day aims to promote foster care through storytelling, education and activation of communities.
“We also take time thanking foster families for the work they do for children around the world, Barnard added. United Way launched KinshipCareCA.org on World Foster Day 2020 as a tribute to caregivers everywhere. A recent Facebook post from World Foster Day reposts Embrace Washington's definition of foster parenting as “risking the protection of one’s heart for the protection of a child.”