Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky Aims to Support Relative Caregivers

Kinship Families CoalitionThe Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky is a community group dedicated to raising awareness of the issues surrounding kinship care in Kentucky and forwarding recommendations for policy changes to increase supports for kinship families.  Members from across the state include relative caregivers, advocacy organizations, and support service providers.

Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of children in the care of grandparents and other relatives, approximately 6 percent. Strains on the education and health of children and grandparents are very common in kinship care settings. When grandparents and other relatives in Kentucky assume the roles of parents, they struggle to find community resources that can help make the family transition easier.  Despite these obstacles, research shows that children fare better in kinship care than in other out-of-home placements. While beneficial for children, kinship care can pose considerable financial, legal, and emotional challenges for the caregivers. In addition to those challenges, as of April 2013, no new families can participate in the Kinship Care Program, which provides financial support to grandparents and other relatives who are raising children because they cannot live safely with their parents.

These challenges faced by kinship caregivers and the cuts to the Kinship Care Program led to the mobilization of the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky (KFCK). The coalition has been meeting and working to raise awareness of the issues surrounding kinship families in Kentucky and forward recommendations for policy changes to increase supports for kinship families. The coalition is staffed by Kentucky Youth Advocates and is co-chaired by Doug Burnham, a former instructor of social work and current director of the Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children Training Project at the University of Kentucky and Laura Cooper, a kinship caregiver and long-time support group facilitator and grandparents raising grandchildren advocate.

The Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky’s website will serve as a resource for kinship families as well as professionals who work with kinship families and any others that want to know more. The website features links to resources for families, including a growing list of kinship support groups throughout Kentucky. The site also includes stories shared by kinship families and several ways to get involved, including joining the coalition, sharing your personal story, submitting information, and events around the state. The coalition welcomes all to share resources, information, and events that would be helpful for kinship families or supporters of kinship families.

Active members of the coalition include representatives from Cooperative Extension, Children, Inc., Family Resource Youth Services Centers, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children, Kentucky’s Voice for Early Childhood, SKY Families, University of Kentucky Training Resource Center, as well as kinship caregivers, academic researchers, and other concerned citizens.

The Kinship Families Coalition welcomes new members and wants to hear from you.

To learn more about the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky or to join the coalition, visit our website.

To get involved with KFCK go here.

You can also follow us on Twitter: @kinshipky

Like us on Facebook: Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky

Comments

  1. Glad I found this website. I feel like I’ve been alone in this. We get no help other than medical card(thank goodness) on 4 yr old twins. We have had them since birth but legally for 2 and a half yrs. Mom and dad are both addicts, dad(my son) incarcerated, mom, who knows. It gets very overwhelming at times

    • Thank you for stepping up for your grandchildren, Kim. Kin like you are such an important safety net for kids–but it’s definitely a tough job. The Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky has great connections to other kinship caregivers and family support networks. If you would like more information, please contact Shannon Moody at smoody@kyyouth.org.

  2. I have permanent custody of three children ages 6, 7 and 10. I was wondering where I could go to get help with buying clothes and things that they need.

  3. I just want to say shame on KY and how they treat kids that are victims of circumstance and the adult family members who take these children into their homes in order to keep them with their own families and keep them out of the states “system”.

    I took on permanent custody of a great niece when she was only a 1yr. old. When I got her, the Kinship Program was non existent. I only qualified for (KTAP) formerly, (AFDC). I got 186.00 per month to take care of her needs. Well, fast forward 19 yrs. She had a child and decided that she did not want the responsibility of taking care of him and she began neglecting him. I reported it to CPS. They never held her responsible for anything but they looked for a family member to take him in. I agreed to temp. custody while thy gave mom a chance to get herself together!! Needless to say, I now have permanent custody of him. I get the same amount to help care for him as I did for her 19 yrs. ago, 186.00 per month (KTAP).

    Another niece that I raised for about two years some years back did qualify for Kinship Care when it existed and I got 300.00 per month for her care.

    Don’t misunderstand me , I took these kids in because I love them and because they are family. But when I hear that Foster families (who can be a blessing) get so much more to care for these kids, I am dumbfounded and hurt. Just because these kids are with family, they still need clothing, bikes and toys, money to attend social events and to participate in sports, haircuts, just to name a few things.

    Whether it is Family or Foster Care, we all bear the same responsibility, the children. Maybe if the incentive were the same for Family more of us could or would be able to keep these kids in our own homes and out of the “system” and would be able to afford to give the children an equal chance to grow.

    KY really needs to think about the children and bring Kinship Care back fore those of us who are kin and who do care. So many children are victims of circumstance and victims of a “system” that is not fair. I know, I have a few in my family that I would consider taking out that system, if I could. But, I cannot afford to. It doesn’t have to take much. But 186.00 per month is not going to get it.

    • Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story. You have done an amazing thing, stepping up to raise your great niece and then many years later stepping up to do it again for her child.

      We agree, Kentucky needs to better support the relatives who step in to take care of very vulnerable children. Sharing your story helps to bring continued awareness to the issue of the lack of financial and other supports kinship families receive in order to help raise successful children.

      We will reach out to you via email with some follow up questions. Thanks again!

    • I was just saying the same thing. Ky needs to think about the family members that are taking these babies in without getting any help. I have perm custody of a 12 and 9 year and recently their 2 sisters ages 2 and 3 have been placed in my care due to my daughter doesn’t feel her kids are more important then her drug addiction. I know if my babies went into foster care the foster parent would be getting $681 per month per child but a grand parent can’t get that. Yes they can get KTAP but it’s not $186 per month per child the total is combined for the kids. Our system is so messed up. I love my babies and will continue to support them but could sure use some help.

    • I so agree with u. That’s what I’m going through right now. I have my daughters kids 4. 6, 8. It does get rough bc u want to put them in sports but it gets so expensive and my husband is on disability so that makes it rough.

  4. I am writing a paper about Social Injustices and a social injustice I think is something so many people are unaware of is kinship care and the fact that families do not receive financial assistance for doing this. And of course families will do it, they do not want the kids to go into foster care. This is wrong for families to not get support. My husband and I are kinship parents well now we are adoptive parents being able to adopt our boys has been our greatest blessing. This journey takes support. We adopted our boys in December, fortunately for us we are not on a fixed income. But I know that many are. We did not receive any help for our kids financially, we never expected it. However it has not been the easiest road, typically taking in kids that are not being raised by their bio parents means the kids will have emotional scars from being left. There are significant cost involved in getting them the help they need at least it was for us.
    I would love to hear from other kinship parents, are you receiving support? How hard is it for you? Any comments would be appreciated for those living in Kentucky, I would love to include some of your thoughts in my paper to make more people aware of this social injustice. Thanks

    • Hello Crystal,

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story. Please see the infographic provided by the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky at kinshipky.org. It includes helpful data and other information about kinship caregivers in Kentucky. If you’d like to learn more about the Kinship Families of Kentucky Coalition, please contact Shannon Moody at smoody@kyyouth.org.

      Thanks!

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