KINDER-CARES stands for Kinship Network Development, Empowerment and Resilience and Connection and Relationship Enhancement through Shared Parenting. KINDER-CARES is a six-component program that is based on and in alignment with “Becoming a Family-Focused System”. KINDER-CARES will:
- review/refine existing organizational policies and philosophy
- conduct assessments to help guide transformational change
- develop and promote training that supports staff, kinship caregivers and shared parenting
- provide new/enhanced supports to kinship caregivers from the initial contact to reunification or other forms of permanency
- broaden the role of kinship caregivers to be prepared/strengthened to provide the essential ongoing supports to relatives and their children after reunification and
- develop and coordinate local community supports to enhance and sustain the well-being of kinship caregivers. The project will be guided by an Advisory Committee will be made up of local service providers, community organizations and most importantly, those families and youth with lived experience, to inform a system built on a foundation of shared parenting principles.
The project vision is to transform the relationships and interactions between staff, the community, foster parents, kinship caregivers and parents which will create a foundation for the approaches and interventions that will improve stability, permanency and family-focused well-being. The project will accomplish this by developing the following:
- an online support gateway that connects those in need (caregivers and parent) to supports that are offered in the community
- an assessment process that is based on the supposition that to make a systemic change, those involved in the system must understand, be prepared and contribute to their portion of the change. The assessment process will unify and interlace the change efforts of the organization, supervisors, staff, resource and kinship caregiver and parents so that together they can help change the culture, philosophy and the outcomes of families in need
- HUB families that will support caregivers and parents in their community by providing assisted referrals and warm handoffs, helping with problem solving, and personally mentoring and advocating for kinship families to ensure needs are being met
- development and implementation of normalcy and shared parenting tools and
- training and coaching of cross system service providers to support them in refining their policies and services to better support kinship caregivers and support shared parenting.