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Arizona’s Children Association Starts New Site for Kinship Caregivers

Arizona’s Children Association is excited to announce the creation of their new Arizona Kinship Support Services website to assist kinship families and caregivers in finding the support and services they need: www.ArizonaKinship.org.

Are you a relative caring for another relative’s child? Do you know someone raising a child not born to them?  Kinship care has been a nationally-growing phenomenon for the last decade. Census reports indicate that more than 198,000 children under age 18 live in homes where the householders are grandparents or other relatives accounting for 12.2% of all children under 18 in the state (U.S. Census, 2010).  Research indicates that children in kinship care experience greater stability than those in foster care. However, many kinship families do not receive the support and resources that would help them create more stability for their household. Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) kinship programs have worked for years to empower the community to embrace and support these very special families and their potential to provide a positive alternative to traditional foster care.

ArizonaKinship.org is designed to help kinship caregivers navigate the various systems that they will encounter when raising their relative’s children and connect them to the resources they need. The program provides support groups, legal services, parenting skills education, foster care licensing and adoption support, as well as connections to food, housing and clothing resources, and much more. The program also provides assistance to caregivers involved with CPS, DES and other government agencies.

The creation of the website is part of a federal grant, “Family Connections Child Welfare/TANF Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs” funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, and awarded to AzCA to continue working with kinship families and further grow the program over the next three years.  The overall goal of the grant is to improve services for children being raised by kinship care providers by assisting caregivers in meeting their family’s needs, promoting public/private partnerships to meet those needs and increase safety, permanency and well-being of the children in kinship care.

“We recognized that in this digital age there was not a local online resource that responded to all of the needs of kinship families,” said Candy Espino, director of operations, child welfare. “In addition to all of our kinship work throughout the last decade, we are now able to take a well-rounded approach by integrating an online resource.”

Each kinship family is unique. ArizonaKinship.org allows kinship caregivers to independently research their local resources or connect directly with an AzCA support staff who will assist them in determining the type of kinship family they are, what their needs are, and the best available resources. Our caregivers are also given the opportunity to connect with a support group or meet others in the same situation for emotional support. In addition, the website also invites people to share their personal stories and read about those with parallel stories.

“Our vision for the website is that it will link caregivers to real community supports to meet their current needs,” said Espino. “We relied on the expertise of our kinship caregivers to assist in the creation of this website to ensure that it met their needs and was as user-friendly as possible.”

Visit the Arizona Kinship Support Services at www.arizonakinship.org.  Support services can also be obtained by calling the statewide Caregiver Hotline at 1.888.737.7494.

About Arizona’s Children Association:
Arizona’s Children Association is the best resource for helping children and families in the state. For 100 years, Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) has stayed true to “Protecting Children and Preserving Families,” serving more than 42,000 children, individuals and families in all 15 counties each year. We are one of the oldest and largest statewide child welfare and behavioral health nonprofit agencies in Arizona. Learn more at www.ArizonasChildren.org.