Washington State and the US Congress have seen that supporting unpaid family caregivers benefits them and costs less. Such support also delays or prevents the placement of loved ones in more costly residential facilities.
The same principle applies when people care for related children rather than placing them in more costly foster care. This has led to the passage of legislation to support kinship caregivers in their efforts to provide stable homes for displaced relative children. SE WA ALTC – COG coordinates and monitors three programs designed to assist kinship caregivers. All programs are delivered by Catholic Family and Child Services (CFCS).
The first program is the Kinship Navigator Program. The Kinship Navigator provides information and referral to kin caregivers concerning a range of services, resources, and supports including:
- Child care
- Legal issues
- Respite care
- Medical, dental, vision, mental health, and chemical dependency services for caregivers and the youth in their charge
- Assistance navigating the education system
- Assistance navigating the child welfare system
- Parenting skills education and training
- Emergency financial assistance
- Caregiver support groups
The Kinship Navigator offers advocacy and follow-up. Navigator services are offered throughout SE WA ALTC – COG’s eight-county area.
The second program is the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) serving kinship caregivers 55 years of age and older who provide primary care for children living with them who are under the age of 19. Respite, support groups, advocacy, referrals to legal clinics, and counseling for kin caregivers and the children in their charge are some of the supplemental services available through this program.
The third program is the Kinship Caregivers Support Program (KCSP), funded by the Washington State Legislature. The program is designed to provide services to adult kinship caregivers of any age who are at the greatest risk of being unable to maintain their care giving role. Funding is limited and must be dispersed to those kinship caregivers experiencing the most urgent/emergent needs.
For further information call Catholic Family and Child Service at (509) 965-7100 or visit: http://catholiccharitiescw.org/services/child-youth-family-programs/kinship-non-parent-guardian-navigation
Additional access assistance can be requested from the ADRC for your county.