Relatives Raising Children 

December 2011 Newsletter



RRC Logo



Happy Holidays!   



Pierce County Kinship Advocates is Hosting a Holiday Potluck  

Bring the Kids because SANTA will be there to take pictures and pass out small gifts to each child that RSVP's.   
Tuesday, December 13 at 6pm at HopeSparks

6424 N 9th St
Tacoma, WA 98406  
This party is potluck style. The main dish and drinks will be provided.
Please bring a side dish or desert to share.  
RSVP to Deborah at 253-310-
Looking forward to celebrating this season of love and peace with all of you!





Incredible Years Classes  



RRC Proclamation

Rob McKenna

1125 Washington Street SE � PO Box 40100 � Olympia WA 98504-0100


McKenna shares shopper survival tips


Understand new rules for gift cards

Gift cards issued by merchants and those issued by financial institutions such as Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover must follow new federal guidelines. Under the Credit Card Act of 2009, limitations are placed on gift card fees and expiration dates. Service fees can no longer be charged until the card has been inactive for 12 months. Only then may one monthly fee be charged. Fee details and terms must be disclosed clearly and conspicuously prior to purchase. Gift cards now carry an expiration date of at least five years from the date of purchase or the date the card was last reloaded. Washington state's gift card law prohibits expiration dates on many kinds of gift cards and allows you to cash out when the balance drops to $5 or less.Check the terms, details and date prior to buying a gift card.


Shop on secure Web sites with your credit - not ATM - card

Using secure Web sites will help ensure that your personal information is transmitted safely, without being intercepted by a third party. Identify secure Web sites by looking for Web addresses that begin with "https" and check for a small padlock icon at the bottom of the page. Also look for SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates such as "VeriSign," which allow for safe browsing and purchasing. Credit cards are still preferred over debit cards for online shopping security because, with a credit card, your checking account will not be affected by merchant errors or identity thieves. The American Bar Association has a useful Web site,, which provides additional tips.


Watch out for restocking fees

Some stores will charge you a percentage of the purchase price for "restocking" an item that you return. These fees often apply to larger purchases such as furniture, televisions or appliances. If a business charges a restocking fee, it should disclose it in advertisements and post a notice disclosing how consumers may obtain the restocking fee policy. Before making a purchase, ask if the store charges such a fee.


Save all receipts, warranties and service agreements 

This simple tip (admittedly easier said than done) helps shoppers negotiate refunds or exchanges. Request warranties and service contracts in writing and save them. Also, keep the packaging, if possible. When it comes time to make a return or exchange, you'll be glad you did.


Use caution when buying toys 

Make sure you read the labels and fine print. Many toys are meant for children of certain ages and may contain small pieces dangerous to very young children. Visit before purchasing children's products and sign up to receive federal recall notices


Travel safe 

Work with a legitimate online or storefront travel agent. Research the agent or business online beforehand. Major airlines and travel companies often offer coupons and discounts while traveling over the holidays - but watch out for small print and details for travel dates and other restrictions.


Seasonal Employment Opportunities 

Make sure you are familiar with a potential employer and their seasonal employment policies. Use special care when using online job boards. Fake jobs are often posted just to capture personal information from potential candidates. Most job boards, such as Craigslist, allow users to report advertisements that are bogus are fraudulent. 

RRC Proclamation

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Invites Entries From Creative Teens


The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing the most talented teen artists and writers in the United States and Canada, has launched its call for entries for the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.


Creative teens in grades 7-12 are invited to submit work in twenty-eight categories of art and writing, including film and animation, video game design, sculpture, photography, fashion design, poetry, journalism, humor, dramatic script, and science fiction.


Student submissions are judged on the regional level by the alliance's affiliates, with the top winning works then presented to national panels of creative leaders to determine which will receive the highest honors. Fifteen graduating high school seniors will be awarded with Portfolio Gold Medals, which include a $10,000 scholarship.

Additional scholarships are made available to Portfolio Silver Medalists and through sponsored awards and stipends to summer arts programs. The alliance will offer more than $270,000 in direct scholarships and awards this year. High school senior award winners are also eligible for nearly $4 million in scholarships through a network of more than sixty colleges and universities.


To be eligible, students must be in grades 7-12 in a public, private, parochial, home-school, or out of school program in the U.S. or Canada, or in an American school abroad.


Deadlines for submitting work vary by region and generally range from December 15, 2011, through January 15, 2012.


For complete program information, entry guidelines, and regional deadlines, visit the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Web site.




Pierce County Relatives Raising Children is program of HopeSparks Family Services.  The mission of this program is to provide support, information, education and advocacy to strengthen relatives and non-relatives who have assumed care of children not theirs by birth and to help keep these children with their family and out of the formal child welfare system.  The program is available to residents of Pierce County without regard to gender, race, national origin, language, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion and all information provided will be treated as CONFIDENTIAL.
Contact Information
Rosalyn Alber                                                                     Jesie Holden
Relatives Raising Children Coordinator                                  Kinship Navigator
(253) 565-4484 ext. 105                                                       (253) 565-4484 ext. 104                                              

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