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

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