#childsafety | New reference guide includes tips, information for Kentucky’s thousands of kinship families

A new handbook, created by the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky in collaboration with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Office, features resources for grandparents and relative caregivers navigating Kentucky’s child welfare system and caring for vulnerable children.

In A Kentucky Grandparent and Relative Caregiver Handbook, caregivers will find information on the basics of kinship care and the court process, tips for engaging with birth parents and navigating the complex child welfare system, and resources to help the vulnerable children in their care grow and thrive.

“The child welfare system can be confusing, especially when it’s being navigated during times of distress,” said Norma Hatfield, president of the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky. “If you sadly have to experience your young family member being removed from their home due to abuse or neglect, we hope that this handbook helps you understand your options and available resources as a kinship provider. I wish I had been given something like this when I began caring for my granddaughters.”

In Kentucky, nearly 100,000 children live in kinship care—ranging from informal arrangements made with relatives to formal placements by the state to placements with caring adults like teachers or pastors. While kinship care helps to relieve trauma children often face when removed from their home due to safety concerns, it can pose considerable financial, legal, and emotional challenges for caregivers.

“Kentucky has the highest rate in the nation of kids living in kinship care, which means lots of kids who could not remain safely at home in the care of family that keeps them connected to their culture, traditions, and siblings. It also means lots of families with stretched resources and emotions,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “This handbook can serve as a guide for caregivers navigating court procedures and available services, and it should also serve as a beacon for decision makers about the tireless dedication these kinship caregivers have to ensuring a brighter future for their loved ones.”

Developed in partnership with the Brookdale Foundation, Kentucky Youth Advocates, and Grandparents as Parents (GAP), the new handbook provides the latest tips and information for kinship caregivers and is not meant to provide legal advice or formal operating procedures of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services.

View A Kentucky Grandparent and Relative Caregiver Handbook at www.kinshipky.org.

Kentucky Youth Advocates




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