Working to insure that all caregivers receive the respite and support they need

2017 NYSCRC Conference

"Understanding and Effectively Engaging Caregivers"
Desmond Hotel and Conference Center - Albany
660 Albany Shaker Road
Albany, NY  12211
(518) 869-8100
Reduced rate rooms available

Monday October 2nd -
Caregiver Simulation Experience 1 - 4 pm. 

What better way to understand caregivers, than to spend a few hours in their shoes. This active simulation allows participants to experience a fraction of the challenges caregivers face, day in and day out. Each participant will be assigned a role, and will have tasks, dilemmas and opportunities to navigate throughout the afternoon. We believe that this experience can develop empathy for caregivers, care receivers and agencies who are involved along the way. We invite you to join us in this simulation as a way of better understanding caregivers, so that we may then effectively engage them. Below are just a few of the reviews from participants at the Caregiving Simulation:
"Thanks for providing such a thoughtful and impactful experience...!"
About the debrief "this was the most important component, as it provided the context for understanding the experience and processing. Hearing from each group, and having them read the situation was so helpful. I think it also engaged the students on a deeper level"
"It was a great opportunity for the students, but I think as professionals we also learned a few new things!"

"I want to thank you all for the wonderful simulation program that you ran today. I agree that the students learned a great deal. Much thanks to all the wonderful volunteers!"

"It was fun and it was significant. Perhaps my favorite bit was in hearing that one of our doctors realized that they themselves do not pay enough attention to what might be going on with caregivers.."

Tuesday October 3rd

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Larry Force
Professor Force, a gerontologist, has worked in the field of aging and disabilities for over 30 years as an administrator, clinician and educator. Dr. Force is a professor of psychology and the director of the Center on Aging and Policy at Mount Saint Mary College. Professor has authored and collaborated on books, articles, chapters, monographs and technical reports that address topics of aging policy, development of aging coalitions with AAA's, life long disabilities, community based programs for individuals with specialized needs, adult day services, Alzheimer's disease, family caregiving and end-of-life care.

Melnie Funchess

Ms. Melanie Funchess is currently employed by the Mental Health Association where she serves as the Director of Community Engagement. She is also involved in several community based coalitions and organizations such as the African American Leadership Development Program, African American Health Coalition, Black Women's Leadership Forum, Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute, the Mental Health Promotion Task Force, and the Neighborhood Consortium for Youth Justice. She is a founding member of the Coalition for the Beloved Community. The Coalition's mission is to serve as a "countywide movement to build a culture of peace; grounded in dignity and fed by hope".

Welcome 6 new REST trainers in Chemung County


Angela Jenkins - Faith in Action

Stephanie Beard - Chemung County OFA

Pamela Dickinson - Chemung County OFA

Laurie Hansen - Chemung County OFA

Melissa Joint - CareFirst Hospice

Laura Fiegl - Faith in Action, Hornell

Sharon Cackett and Eve Moses - REST Master Trainers


Welcome 13 new REST Trainers in NYC!

















Elizabeth Levine and Karol Tapais - LiveOn NY

Elizabeth Lee and Diana Cruz - Visions

Teresa Theophano - SAGE

Adina Segal, Raquel Perlman and Suzanne Roberts - Heights ad Hills

Megan Nelson and Betsy Guttmacher - Heights and Hills

Stefanie Jackowitz - Queens Community House

Dawn-Marie Canas - Service Now for Adult Persons, Inc

Christine Weber - EAC Network

Doris Green ad Eve Moses - REST Master Trainers


Learn about REST

REST trainings are offered at no cost to organizations interested in providing respite for caregivers through community-based volunteer programs.  NYSCRC is funded with a federal grant for Lifespan Respite awarded by the Administration on Aging/Administration for Community Living to the New York State Office for the Aging.
Statewide trainings are being generously supported through the New York State Office of the Aging, AANYS and LiveOn NY. This funding is time limited.
REST trainings are also funded by The Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center/University of Rochester Medical Center to the following counties: Allegany, Cayuga ,Tioga, Tompkins, Cortland, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.  
Any organization, person or faith community in the state can access Train-the-Trainer programs as a way to provide evidenced informed training for volunteer respite programs.
REST Train the Trainer Opportunities -
sign up at
Albany County - October 18-19 (registration opening soon)


The Kinship Navigator (KN) is a statewide program operated by Catholic Family Center in Rochester, NY and specially designed to provide an information and referral network for kinship caregivers across all of New York State.  Since 2006, the Kinship Navigator has provided leadership for a broad-based coordinated effort to provide comprehensive services that address the multiple needs of kinship caregivers and their families. We are currently the only state funded kinship program for all of NYS by providing information, referral, education and advocacy for caregivers and professionals in every county.

KN provides a help line that serves all 62 counties of New York State - the help line is staffed 10-4 Monday-Friday by a trained kinship specialist who answers calls from caregivers and professionals live.  The specialist conducts a telephone intake and provides information on a variety of kinship queries, most often related to financial assistance, legal assistance, and support.  The program website,, hosts over fifty cited legal fact sheets that provide information on a variety of issues most commonly faced by caregivers, a list of county resources for all 62 counties, and a growing online education forum for caregivers and professionals to learn about benefits.  

Kinship Specialists also refer caregivers to local kinship case management and caregiver support programs. There are currently 22 programs that are state funded (by the Office of Children and Family Services), serving 22 counties in NYS for local support and case management assistance.  These programs provide a more hands-on support system for caregivers in the counties they serve, while in the remaining 40 counties that have limited access to support services, KN attempts to find ancillary services that families may take advantage of. OCFS recently funded fifteen permanency centers that serve post guardianship and adoptive families, which comprise a small number of kinship caregivers as well. KN also has access to a network of pro bono and low bono attorneys that can assist caregivers on a case by case basis.  Clients and professionals can also access a specialist via email ( or via online chat ( during business hours. 

Since 2007, KN has served over 12,000 kinship families in NYS. The program averages between 3,000-4,000 calls per year, with several repeat callers. Roughly 60% of callers are grandparents, the rest being aunts, uncles, adult siblings, other family members, and fictive kin (non-related caregivers). 
In fall 2012, KN was one of seven grantees nationally for the federal Children's Bureau kinship navigator demonstration project.  This three year project focused on strengthening county collaborations, and partnered with five county Departments of Social Services in order to facilitate a "Permission to Contact" form that allowed case workers to refer families to KN via written consent so that KN Specialists were able to call the client directly.  Over three years, caregiver contact in these counties increased 600%.  Since the end of the project in 2015, KN has implemented regional navigators across the state that provide local presentations in order to educate front line workers on KN and kinship resources.Since 2016, regional navigators have made contact with voluntary agencies and county workers in an additional twenty four counties.
In fall 2016, KN was awarded a small grant by the NYS Office of Aging in order to partner with local agencies to provide support groups for caregivers.  There are currently two KN support groups in operation - one in Rockland County (partnered with local kinship program) and one in Ontario County (partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension).  There is a third planned to start in Fall 2017 in St. Lawrence County (partnered with the local Office of Mental Health)

"Promising Practices in Encouraging & Supporting Grandparents and Relatives Raising Children"

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), in partnership with the Brookdale Foundation Group, created a guidebook to encourage replication of the successful Relatives as Parents Programs (RAPP) operated by the aging network across the nation. The RAPP programs have been a lifeline to grandparents and other relatives who find that they are suddenly raising children, due to the death, incarceration or otherwise unavailability of the child's parents. download here

"Developing Rural Relatives As Parents Programming: Promising Practices- A Collection of Practice Wisdom from Across Rural America"

The information in the manual is based on a combination of published research and extensive surveys and interviews with both service providers and kinship caregivers.   Service   providers offered input about the unique needs of their rural clients, barriers rural   clients may face in accessing services, and strategies that they have used to help their clients. Kinship caregivers across the country offered insight as to what makes great programming for rural grandfamilies. The result of this effort is a collaborative and comprehensive manual showcasing many of the promising practices in use across the country.

Podcast: Supporting Kinship Caregivers Part 2 
Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families
June 16, 2017
Kinship care is the most preferred resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains family connections. Approximately one-fourth of children in out-of-home care live with relatives. This podcast, the second of a two-part series, highlights Florida's Kinship Interdisciplinary Navigation Technologically-Advanced (KIN-Tech). Developed to address the large percentage of local kinship families unaware of or not accessing services, KIN-Tech uses a three-pronged approach, including training for peer navigators and cross-agency collaboration. This episode delves into the program's structure and implementation. Listen to the podcast. Listen to Part I of the podcast. 

Update on the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act
In May, Senators Susan Collins and Bob Casey introduced the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (S. 1091) to create a federal task force and central place for information for families where grandparents and other relatives are raising children. At the end of June, Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 3105).

Funding Opportunities

Family Caregiver Alliance and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation

Three $20,000 awards in the following categories:

Creative Expression
► Diverse/Multicultural Communities
► Policy and Advocacy for information and to link to the online application. Past applicants are encouraged to apply again. This may be your year! Please share this announcement with any nonprofit or public organizations who you believe are potential candidates for an award.
Application deadline: Monday September 11th

Upcoming Events
31st Annual Conference Spanning the Continuum of Care: Innovations in Geriatric Health Practice

Date : Friday September 29, 2017
Time : 7:30am - 4:00pm
Location : Monroe Community Hospital, 435 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14620
New this year, registration is online and we can accept credit card payments!   J
If you are internal to URMC, we can also accept 312 Requisitions.
Cost: $30 for professionals, $20 for students/caregivers
Continuing Education Credits Available

National Lifespan Respite Conference,  October 11-13 in Huntsville, Alabama 


Strengthen Your State and Local Aging Plan: A Practical Guide for Expanding the Inclusion of LGBT Older Adults 
National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
July 2017

This guide explains the unique challenges and needs of aging LGBT people; offers tools and resources to promote inclusion of LGBT older adults in local and state agency planning; provides a foundation for the Aging Network to further the commitment to serve diverse older adults. Learn more about the goal, objective and key task of the report.

Age and Emotional Well-Being: The Varied Emotional Experience of Family Caregivers

The Sightlines Project at the Stanford Center on Longevity surveyed 55-64 year old Americans who have a loved one that requires care and compared them to their same-aged counterparts in the general U.S. population. The survey found that a crucial factor for caregivers' well-being is to retain some social engagement while caring for an ailing relative. People caring for severely ill loved ones may be unable to maintain their social lives in ways they desire. The research findings encourage targeted interventions to help caregivers have fulfilling lives. 
Read the press release, the issue brief and more at the website.



A National Profile Of End-Of-Life Caregiving In The United States
Katherine A. Ornstein, Amy S. Kelley, Evan Bollens-Lund and Jennifer L. Wolff
Health Affairs 36 no.7 (2017):1184-119
In this study, researchers found that out of 2.3 million end-of-life caregivers, nearly nine in ten were unpaid.  End-of-life caregivers provided nearly twice as many hours of care per week c ompared to other caregivers, and spousal caregivers reported more care-related challenges. U npaid caregivers must receive more recognition and greater access to supportive services, including respite care, t o meet both their needs and those of older adults at the end of life. Read the abstract.

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