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ISSUE 3 | OCT 2015

Fall News for You

Thank you for choosing to stay connected with us
We still can't believe it's October.  We've been keeping busy through the end of summer and start to fall too.  Below you'll find information from two events we participated in since our last update and more ways to get involved when the upcoming legislative session starts.  We hope you can consider ways to get more involved with us!  We're always hoping to connect further with our followers. 

Thanks for reading and enjoy this issue!

In this issue:
  • Update on the Kentucky Youth Advocates Kinship Summit
  • Update on the Northern Kentucky Grandparents as Parents Conference
  • A Self-care Toolkit for Relative Caregivers
  • The Ease in Advocacy: Tips and Tools for You
  • An Inside Look at a Relatives as Parents Support Group in Danville, KY

Update on Statewide Kinship Summit


On September 9, 2015, Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) organized and convened a statewide kinship summit with over 100 key stakeholders across the state, including kinship caregivers, child welfare workers, the courts, support providers, and advocates.  KYA held the summit to share the opportunities for improvement and solutions identified through the kinship process mapping study. In order to ensure strong participation by kinship families, we offered travel stipends to kinship caregivers. This convening created an opportunity to educate and engage legislators, particularly around the recommendations that included a budget ask for the 2016 General Assembly. 
 

First NKY Grandparents as Parents Conference


The first Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati Grandparents as Parents Conference took place Friday, September 11th.  Crowds of advocates, stakeholders, and kinship caregivers came to participate and hear from speakers scheduled that day.  Keynote speakers, Dr. Joseph Crumbley facilitated an insightful discussion on engaging birth parents, while additional speaker, Dr. Ruth Shepherd, shared her wisdom on adverse childhood experiences.  

The event took place at the local Trinity Episcopal Church on Madison Avenue in Covington, where guests were also treated to pastries, coffee, and lunch.  Representatives from various local organizations including the Kenton County Extension Office and the Family Nurturing Center were also present to provide guests with valuable information and resources.  

All guests were invited to participate in a panel discussion, where important questions and concerns were addressed, including the role of schools in kinship family settings.  Some guests took advantage of the free legal consultations at the conference too. 


About 100 guests attended the conference, which one grandparent stated was, "A day well spent."  The need for this conference and ones similar is obvious, with more than 56,000 children under the age of 18 in primary care of grandparents in Kentucky.

The planning committee intends to hold another conference next year and hopes to begin a regular support group for kinship families in the Covington area. 
Look our for more information on the Grandparents as Parents Conference in Lexington, KY scheduled for March 10th, 2016. Keynoter speaker Lisa Frederiksen will touch on ways to support grandchildren in kinship care.  She is an author of nine books and an expert in substance abuse, brain disease, and family support.  Click here for more information and early registration! 

A Self-care Toolkit for Relative Caregivers

We know taking care of children can be difficult, but caring for children a second time around is even more challenging at times.  Strengthening Families, a framework from the Center for the Study of Social Policy, has developed a new toolkit for families in the care of relatives that shares the importance of self-care.  

Tending to children who are not in the care of their own parents can take a toll on new caregivers, especially because most of the time the children are experiencing loss, grief, and trauma.  It's no question that relative caregivers who choose to take responsibility for these children are brave and strong, but sometimes the new responsibilities can be overwhelming.

The new toolkit provides tips for caregivers who might be experiencing stress, anxiety, isolation, and loss of hope.  Some tips include taking time for yourself when you really need it and recognizing that you deserve it.  Other tips include the importance of leaning on others and accepting that help and support.  

If you or someone you know would benefit from the toolkit, you can find it here.  If you'd like to learn more about the Strengthening Families effort, please visit the webpage here.  

The Ease in Advocacy

Part of the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky's mission is to advocate for kinship families across the state.  We want to ensure that proper education and support is provided to all kinship families and to encourage other individuals in the community to stay informed on ways they can help. There are many ways to become an effective kinship families advocate. Here are some concrete steps to take over the next few months.
Raise awareness of the strengths and needs of kinship families.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. 
  • Send a copy of the kinship infographic* to a local reporter.
  • Follow and share Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Find those links here: http://kinshipky.org/
Build a relationship with your legislators.
  • Hand deliver or send copies of the kinship infographic* to your legislators.
  • Share your personal story with your legislator.
  • Invite your legislator to visit your local support group.
*For copies of the kinship infographic, please contact Shannon Moody at smoody@kyyouth.org
Join a network of advocates.
 

Relatives As Parents Support Group

Relatives As Parents (RAP) is a program sponsored by the Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs) of the Danville Schools.  The program is designed to assist family members who are raising children other than their own.  The goals of RAP are to provide families with the following services:
  • Support offering a social network for grandparents/relatives raising children under 18
  • Referrals and access to appropriate community-based services and resources
  • Opportunities to learn and provide support to and from families in similar situations
  • Tips for coping with changing family dynamics
  • An understanding of effective ways to negotiate with outside services
Nurturing relative caregivers allow children to flourish and often enable siblings to stay together while maintaining contact with family members.  Grandparents and other relative caregivers are providing full-time parental care to children other than their own.  When these caregivers assume responsibility for young children, often unexpectedly, they may face an increased emotional and financial strain. Most relative caregivers are not prepared for the challenges that the responsibility of raising young children brings.  They lack information about the range of support services, resources, programs, benefits, laws and policies available to help them successfully fulfill their caregiving role.  The leaders of RAP bring awareness and provide information about key resources and community-based services to caregivers.  RAP also builds new relationships while often providing positive social experiences for caregivers and enabling them to participate in an organized support group.
 
RAP organizers provide a time and a place to come together once a month to share the successes and the struggles of parenting as a grandparent or other relative caregiver.  This program is provided for all families in the Danville Schools and the surrounding area.  The RAP group meets from 5:00pm until 6:30pm on the first Thursday of each month at Jennie Rogers Elementary School, 410 East Main Street – Danville, KY. Childcare is available and a light meal is provided.  If you have questions about the program, please contact Anna Houston at 859.936.8564.
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Copyright © 2015 Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky, All rights reserved.


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