Quarter 1 2018| March 15 2018
Foster Kinship Spring Connection
Kinship Specific News, Resources, Training and more- direct to you from Foster Kinship.
Foster Kinship News
A Note from Ali

Foster Kinship is heading into our seventh year of working exclusively with kinship families! I still think back to the first kinship families that inspired me so much in 2010- these families were resilient and powerful and yet the systems they encountered created artificial barriers that potentially prevented children from remaining with family. Foster Kinship works every day to educate and advocate for kin so that all children who can't be with their parents can stay with their family.

When I founded Foster Kinship in 2011 I had no idea we would be able to grow into an organization that would make a difference for so many children. I am passionate about supporting and advocating for kinship families and so grateful for the nine other Foster Kinship staff and many volunteers who work so hard every day to create the change we know is needed for kinship families. We hope you find the resources in the newsletter helpful, and if there is ever anything I can do for you, please reach out to me directly at Ali@fosterkinship.org.
From today to March 22, a donation to Foster Kinship goes even farther! Show you are #KinshipStrong during the #NVBigGive!

  • $20 will provide an infant with emergency diapers and formula for a week.
  • $40 will provide a kinship family with a Thanksgiving meal & turkey.
  • $100 will stabilize a kinship family w/ legal, financial, and support services.
  • $300 will fund our Kinship Navigator Program for one day.

Thank you so much for helping us to keep home in the family!

We are so excited to share our 2017 outcomes in our annual report. Thank you to every donor, supporter, and partner who made it possible for us to serve over 2,000 children and their kinship families last year. Together, we are all  #KinshipStrong

Darling Tennis Center is hosting Foster Kinship's First Annual Tennis Tournament on Sunday, April 8th! This event is for people who love tennis and want a chance to play against the pros! The tournament winners will challenge the pros in an exhibition match!

Food, drinks, raffles, massages, and more will be available to attendees.

For more information, please contact Darling Tennis Center at (702) 229-2100 .
Amazon is tripling the donation rate on your first  smile.amazon.com purchase - through March 31! Go to  smile.amazon.com/ch/45-4242425  and Amazon donates to Foster Kinship.
Kinship Navigator Resources
Meet the Manager
Nani Garrett, Kinship Navigator Program Manager

Nani Garrett holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Services- with a concentration is management- and is completing a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling. She completed her internship with the Department of Family Services and the Parenting Project. She is passionate about helping children and families in the community to connect with the necessary resources that will better their situation. Nani is also a notary public. She can be reached at Nani@fosterkinship.org.

Child-Only TANF

There are many resources in our community to help kinship caregivers, but Child-Only TANF is one of the few financial resources available. Child-Only TANF is a cash-benefit from the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS) available only to blood relatives who are informal OR unlicensed. Licensed families do not qu alify as you are receiving financial reimbursement.

What do you need to qualify?

  • Parents are not living in the home.
  • Caregiver is blood related.
  • Can the relationship be proven through birth certificates?
  •  Household income for all adults/ children living in the home and related to the child is less than 275% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
  • Cannot have assets (like checking or savings accounts) of more than $6000.
  • Caregiver is willing to cooperate with child support enforcement.
  • Child does not have income greater than the payment allowance.

DWSS currently provides cash assistance in the amount of $417 for the first child and $59 for each additional child.

If you want to see if you qualify, try our prescreen tool or give us a call (702) 546-9988. If you feel like you have been turned down from welfare incorrectly or are receiving the wrong payment amount, we can also help you- we have a 90% success rate getting families financial assistance who qualify!

If you need assistance we have family advocates Monday through Friday 10 to 4 PM. We also have walk in TANF help on Wednesday’s from 12-1 pm. Call us and we will help you.
Kinship Support Group
Please do not forget we have kinship-only support group on the second Tuesday of the month at 6 PM. We provide free child care and dinner! Come hang out and meet other kinship caregivers.

REGISTER HERE or call (702) 546-9988.

If you can't make it, we also have a closed group on Facebook just for Nevada Kinship Caregivers.

Reunification Support Group

Friday, May 18 at 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

This group is for kinship caregivers who have reunified or are about to reunify the children in their care back with the birth parents.

This group will be facilitated by Family Advocate Anntesha Chesterton, who says "Whether you are fully prepared or it comes as a shock reunification is a difficult process. It comes with all kinds of emotions that can be difficult for everyone involved. When my niece and nephews were reunified I was devastated. I feared that they would, again, be abused and mistreated. Regardless of my emotions the judge still made the decision to reunify them. During this time I felt no one in the world could understand the pain I was experiencing. My heart was broken. We don't want you to feel alone during this process and that's why we are creating a reunification support group. Come speak with others who have experienced this same loss."

REGISTER HERE or call (702) 546-9988
Kinship Advocacy Network (KAN) Meetings

These is a meeting of dedicated kinship caregiver advocates to discuss a policy change agenda for kinship families in Nevada.

Fridays March 30, April 27, June 29 from 1:30-3:30

REGISTER HERE or call (702) 546-9988
Emergency Resources

If you are in need of diapers, formula, clothing, strollers or other basic needs to care for children in your home, please reach out to one of our Family Advocates Monday-Saturday 10 AM- 4 PM at (702) 546-9988. Our Kinship Resource Center is located in our office: 4344 W Cheyenne, 89032.

Thank you to the incredible students at Alexander Dawson School for recently donating all these diapers and containers of formula to restock our Kinship Resource Center!
Community Resource Spotlight: Futons 4 Less and Nirvana Beds

One of the biggest needs kinship families face is beds for everyone in the home! Futons 4 Less has been partnering with Foster Kinship for years, providing a great deal on twin size mattress sets, frame and delivery.

Now, Nirvana Bed is taking it one step farther, giving a bed away to a child in kinship care for every bed purchased! Please share this link ( www.fosterkinship.org/nirvana ) with anyone who is looking to purchase a bed and one will be donated back to a family in our Kinship Navigator Program!
Family Events

Th e 2018 Department of Family Services Spring Holiday Egg Hunt on Tuesday, March 27 is open to kinship families who have children in foster care (open DFS case): RSVP  Here.

If you do not have an open case, but you are a Foster Change member , you can still join in the fun! RSVP or learn more about Foster Change by calling Sandy at Foster Change- 702-970-4546.
Don't miss the Spring Celebration Foster Connection on April 7th 10 AM- 2 PM at Floyd Lamb Park! This event is open to all kinship families! Be sure to stop by our table and say "hi"!
Training Corner
Meet the Manager
Leah Dods, Community Engagement and Training Program Manager

Leah Dods has a Bachelor's degree in Human Services and is completing a Masters in Social Work. Leah’s mother was a relative caregiver. As a result, Leah saw many of the stressful times and also the happy times her mother and family went through that come with raising a relative. At the time, her mother was unaware of the services available to relative caregivers and their families. Leah is excited she can provide various resources available at Foster Kinship and within the community to other relative caregivers going through similar situations. Leah is a certified First Aid/CPR/AED instructor. She can be reached at Leah@fosterkinship.org.
Private TPR/Adoption Lunch and Learn

If you are attempting to do the termination of parental rights and adoption by yourself (NO DFS INVOLVEMENT), this lunch session is for you. Come meet with an experienced kinship caregiver who successfully completed both the TPR and adoption process on her own . She will explain what obstacles she faced and what she learned during the process. This is NOT a legal clinic, but it is an opportunity to learn from the successful experience of others. Lunch will be provided.

March 18 12 PM - 3 PM

REGISTER HERE or call (702) 546-9988
Kinship Licensing Classes

We continue to offer Kinship Licensing classes for all caregivers caring for a relative placed with them by Department of Family Services. We are happy to be offering a Friday AM class starting in April.

If you have any questions about the specific licensing class schedule, please call Foster Kinship or speak with your DFS kinship licensing technician. 
CPR & Car Seat Classes
CPR/AED/First Aid is required for all caregivers and non-primaries going through the DFS licensing process. Car Seat is required for caregivers caring for children in DFS care six years old or younger. If you are unsure, speak with your licensing technician.

There is no child care for these free classes. Space is limited, please call the Foster Kinship to register: 702-546-9988. 
Required QPI Videos for Licensing
If you are working on your license (kinship caregivers who have children with an open DFS case), there are two required QPI videos that you have to watch for licensing: Normalcy and Emergency Preparedness. We have created study guides that we can provide to you!

We are offering a group viewing of these two videos on May 3 rd from 6 -9 PM. By the end of the night you will have both certificates. Child care will be provided.

REGISTER HERE or call 702-546-9988.

YWe continue to offer our computers for you to use at our office in order to complete videos required for licensing and re-licensing, please call to request an appointment (702) 546-9988.

We are in the process of completing study guides for re-licensing videos as well. Check with us to see what study guides we have available for you to use.
Nurturing Caregiver Education Caregiver Classes - Starting Soon!
We are very excited to announce we are partnering with CPLC to host their Nurturing Parenting Education Program again!

This is a wonderful class that will increase your knowledge of child development and behavior, positive parenting practices, improve child safety, and improve child’s health and family stability, and increase educational involvement.

In addition, if you participate in the class, CPLC offers 1:1 in home help for any maladaptive behaviors you may need some help with.

Child care will be provided. Classes will be two hours per week for four weeks in the evening. Class dates 4/23, 4/30, 5/7, & 5/14.

REGISTER HERE or call (702) 546-9988

"I took the class less than a year ago, and I learned so much great information. It helped me be more empathetic to the developmental needs of my five year old." - Leah Dods, Training Program Manager
Kid Connection
Life Books
Kinship caregivers deal with the challenging task of handling emotions and feelings surrounding abuse and neglect. Children in kinship foster care can have a tough time transitioning into a unique environment. A Lifebook can help ease this transition and create a natural opportunity to talk about the circumstances of the kinship placement.

The Lifebook brings together a child’s past, present, and future. It documents a child’s history, while celebrating their accomplishments, and allows the children to honor their life one day and event at a time.

The Lifebook pages are available to download and print for FREE at:

Working together allows bonding opportunities that helps the child begin a dialogue of their emotions. Taking the time out to commemorate and record important dates and details of a child’s life will help them to feel valuable, worthwhile, lovable, and capable. The Lifebook helps children to understand how truly special they are. They are able to look through the life book and reminisce on the life they had before being removed from their home, and dream for a brighter future. It is important to remember that all achievements are great achievements no matter how big or small.

Stuff the child's Lifebook with pictures, awards, special dates, report cards, behavior success stories, drawings, child's favorites, poems, and letters to loved ones.

When a child looks through his or her history, they can better understand what has happened to them, who to turn to for help, and the strengths which will allow them to move forward. Have fun with this project and remember a life book creates a lifetime of positive memories.

Foster Kinship is grateful for a grant from the Speedway Children's Charity that funds the printing of Lifebooks.

-Aminah Muhammad, Child Care Program Director
Book Review
The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog by Dr. Bruce Perry & Maia Szalavitz
Dr. Bruce Perry is a child psychiatrist that specializes in child trauma. The Boy who was Raised as a Dog includes case studies from Dr. Bruce Perry work with traumatized children. The children he has worked with experience extreme trauma such as child from orphanage in Russia that experienced extreme neglect, children that grew up in the Branch Davidian cult, a boy who was raised as a dog in a cage.

This book discusses the innovative ways Dr. Bruce Perry worked with these children and he found that loving nurturing relationships are the way to heal trauma. Research tells us it only takes one adult to invest time into a child to help heal trauma, and it really is the truth.

“The more healthy relationships a child has, the more likely he will be to recover from trauma and thrive. Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love”. In the book he talks about the creative ways he has used to help children that have experienced trauma. I would highly recommend this book!- Leah Dods
Birth Parent Perspective
“Each of us can make a difference…Together we make change.” - Barbara Mikulski

We know that one of the most difficult things about kinship parenting is working with the birth parents. We know sometimes it is not possible for children to return safely home, but many families do work closely with parents and children do return home home. The network of support a birth parent has can make all the difference.

"The key to successful birth parent-children reunification is support.  It is crucial that all parties involved have a healthy support system and know that there is someone there supporting them through their darkest times. When birth parents have their children removed from their homes they feel such a deep and indescribable lost.  They feel they have lost everything; in most situations when children are removed from the home, the birth parents lose the support system they know. Family members and friends begin to look at them in a different way and turn their heads not wanting to have anything to do with them. Yes, they made a mistake. Maybe they do not know how to ask for help or know where to even begin looking for the help they need. Remember “ Everyone makes mistakes…. It’s how you handle them that defines who you are.” Jami Wagner

“Changing one’s heart makes successful rehabilitation a distinct possibility, but it is often a tedious and very difficult road. It takes commitment and the support of others for a broken family to safely reunite. But it is so worth the effort.” Judge Glena A. Hatchett 

With just a little support and knowing that someone is there a birth parent’s natural parental determination can do wonders. Everyone has a little determination to fight for what they want in life; sometimes people need a little extra support and push to know it is there.

If the birth parent in your life needs an advocate to help them understand the court process and a peer mentor to encourage them to do their work, East Valley Family Services has a program to help.

- Complied by Nikki Rivera, Family Advocate
Servicios en Espanol
Meet the Manager
Sandy Vargas, Program Support Manager and Spanish Speaking Family Advocate

For two years, Sandy was a fictive kin caregiver and she understands the legal and financial obstacles informal families can face. Sandy provides bilingual case management services to Spanish speaking kinship families and is a notary public, certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, and CPR/First Aid/AED instructor. Sandy also provides administrative and financial oversight for the organization. Sandy can be reached at Sandy@FosterKinship.org. 
Si usted necesita asistencia con su aplicación de licencia por favor comuníquese con Sandy Vargas al 702-546-9988. Estoy a su disposición de martes a Sábado.
Tenemos grupo de apoyo cada segundo martes del mes a las 6:00 pm en Foster Kinship 4344 W. Cheyenne Ave 89032. Usted puede conocer más personas que están posiblemente en la misma situación que usted. Puede traer sus niños(as) y servimos cena.
Si usted es pariente de su niño(a) por sangre, es posible que califique para asistencia TANF(Asistencia para Familias con Necesidad). Este beneficio paga $417.00 por el primer niño y $50.00 por cada otro niño. También es posible recibir el beneficio de pagos Kinship que es para las personas que son mayor de 62 años de edad. Para las personas que tienen 62 años o más pueden recibir $417.00 por niño. Si usted es pariente de su niño por sangre y no está recibiendo este dinero por el departamento de bienestar infantil (Welfare) por favor llame para una consulta con Sandy Vargas 702-546-9988.
En Foster Kinship puede hacer una sita para asistencia con sus formas para Tutela (Guardianship). Muchas veces familias se quedan con la responsabilidad de quidar a un pariente y necesitan ayuda con el proceso de Tutela y saber que recursos hay para un Cuidador Pariente (Kinship Caregiver). Con su informacion podemos localizar recursos para usted basados en su codigo postal. Hay recursos por ejemplo WIC, agencias que reparten comida por Three Square, asistencia temporal de cuidado de ninos si es mayor de 55 anosde edad y podemos asistirle a localizar especialistas de comportamiento.
Tenenmos computadoras disponible si necesita utilizar una para completar los cursos en línea que requiere el departamento. Si usted necesita utilizar una computadora por favor haga una sita con Sandy en Foster Kinship.
 Si usted necesita tomar clases de RCP o Silla de Seguridad de Auto, por favor revise los tiempos anotados en la sección Training Corner. Revise las fechas y llame al 702-546-9988 para inscribirse a la clase. Puede preguntar por Michelle o Sandy si necesita asistencia en español. Estas clases no tienen guardería de niños. Favor de planificar su clase de acuerdo a su cuidadora de niños o si tiene pareja ustedes pueden alternar clases. Le agradecemos su cooperación con las reglas.
Kinship Caregiver Spotlight!
“I became a kinship caregiver to my two siblings after my mother lost custody, and ended up going to jail. Kinship caregivers have been a tremendous help! They are not only there physically for any need you may have, but they are there mentally! It’s refreshing to have a group of families going through similar situations and having that reassurance that everything will be ok, and we are all in this together! So very thankful for kinship caregivers!" - A.F.
"My journey with kinship care started with a safety agreement when my grandson was 1 month old. At the 6 month mark I was granted temporary guardianship through CPS. It wasn't until he was 13 months that I was directed to Foster Kinship. What a difference the last 3 months have been! Foster Kinship has directed me to resources available for kinship caregivers, helped me through the licensing process, given me a better understanding of what the bio parents maybe feeling and how to support their journey while navigating my own. The knowledge that I am not alone through all of this makes all of the difference in the world. I only wish I would have known about Foster Kinship sooner!"- D.S.
"  It was January 2017 when Family Court granted me Legal Guardianship of my eldest two grandchildren whom I had been caring for since October 2015. My son is deceased and their mother suffers from mental illness and was not taking her meds.

 A DFS worker referred me to Foster Kinship for a car seat for my then four year old grandson. My granddaughter is eight now and she enjoys the family events at Foster Kinship like the Christmas party with Santa, decorating cookies & face painting. Foster Kinship puts forth a great effort to assist the families they come into contact with. If they don't have it they will refer you to someone/agency who does have what you need. They are so very supportive.    
My family is so grateful for Foster Kinship and the work the organization does to help keep families together. Foster Kinship offers administrative assistance, and local resources, I was able to take a Nurturing parenting class that was free to me. I could go on and on because that's how the help from this organization flows. If you need a shoulder to cry on, there's a monthly support group. You can sit with others who have similar situations and know that you are not alone. I can't say thank you enough!" - K.M.
Thank you to our 2018 Donors!!

Patrick Stiff*, Michael Salvatori*, Bob O'Donnell, Marcie O'Donnell*, Michelle McGuire*, Michele Howser*, Anthem Community Church*, Alexander Dawson School, Dorina Goetz, Susan Parsons, Jackie Giddy, Jill Irvine, Pamela Convertino, Lynn Collins, Cashman Family Foundation, Linda Newill, Nevada Community Foundation- Cox Workplace Giving Fund, Savers, My Stuff Bags

*Monthly Giver
Foster Kinship | 702-546-9988| FamilyAdvocate@fosterkinship.org | www.FosterKinship.org