FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2023
Contact: Santino R. Thomas
(518) 949-4809 | [email protected]
St. Catherine’s Center for Children’s forum to educate and inform kinship families and professionals alike
ALBANY, N.Y. – Today, St. Catherine’s Center for Children has announced it will be hosting its first ever Kinship Care Forum, in partnership with the Albany Guardian Society, LifePath and New York State Kinship Navigator. The forum – open to the general public and professionals – will educate those in attendance on what kinship is, which families are considered kinship families and what resources are available to them. It will be held on Wednesday, September 27, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The in-person forum, limited to the first 50 people to register, will be held at the Albany Guardian Society. There is a virtual option for those who cannot join live. This event is open to individuals throughout New York state.
Most kinship families don’t know what kinship is or that they are, in fact, part of this subset of foster care. Without this knowledge, they can’t know that resources are available specifically for families like them, or where to find that help. While the forum will provide greater detail, kinship families can be described as foster families in which there is a very close tie between a child and a guardian: either a family member (other than the parents) or a close family friend taking responsibility for – and care of – a child. St. Catherine’s Center for Children has an entire program dedicated to these families to provide them guidance and resources aimed at improving their overall health and well-being and ultimately turning a challenging situation into a success story.
“Children that have been removed from their homes have experienced many types of trauma,” said Frank Pindiak, Executive Director of St. Catherine’s Center for Children. “In trying to ease their pain and create a greater level of comfort, foster care programs now aim to keep children with family when they have been removed from their home, whenever possible. This provides a child with a better chance at success, while also keeping connections to loved ones. While there is an increasing amount of kinship families, so many of them don’t know that valuable assistance is available to them. Our Kinship Care Forum aims to change that. By educating the public and professionals in the human services industry, we can spread the word and reach a greater number of families. We hope to fill up this forum.”
The forum will consist of three separate sessions, each followed by a question-and-answer portion. The scheduled sessions are entitled: “What is Kinship?”, “Kinship System of Care & Financial Assistance” and “Mind, Body & Relationship Maintenance for Kinship Caregiver Success.” A team of professionals from St. Catherine’s Center for Children, LifePath and New York State Kinship Navigator will make presentations and moderate the forum.
“Our program provides these families with the tools they need to successfully navigate kinship relationships,” said Tiffany Carroll, Kinship Coordinator for St. Catherine’s. “Kinship families can face unique challenges that they are, oftentimes, not prepared for. A child is never prepared to be removed from their home. A young adult, taking in a younger sibling may not be ready to be a parent figure. A grandparent may not have had to parent in decades. It truly can be difficult for these families without the proper resources and guidance.”
“Albany Guardian Society supports the vital work of St. Catherine’s and their commitment to assisting Kinship Care providers,” said Mary Moller, Executive Director of the Albany Guardian Society. “Kinship families face unique and complex challenges, and St Catherine’s is there to help. Connecting families to essential resources can make a substantial difference in the lives of all members of kinship families.”
““LifePath is honored to partner with St. Catherine’s Center for Children through the Kinship Program,” said Maria Jones, Co-Interim Executive Director of LifePath. “Our organizations walk the same path, providing crucial support to older adults who selflessly care for young children who are not their own. This partnership is a testament to our commitment to strengthen families, uplift communities, and ensure that love knows no boundaries.”
“In New York state, there are approximately 200,000 kids in kinship care,” said Rae Glaser, Director of New York State Kinship Navigator. “Our goal is to provide information, resource linkages and support to these families in order to ensure better permanency and stability for kids in kinship care. Research has shown that children thrive in situations where they are placed with familiar kin, and the local programs and Kinship Navigator continues to support the great work these families are doing.”
To register for the forum, individuals can visit www.st-cath.org/kinshipcareforum. There is no cost to attend the event, either in-person, or virtually. However, seating for those wishing to attend in-person is limited to the first 50 registrants. The registration deadline is Friday, September 15. For questions, please contact Dori O’Neal at (518) 641-6802, or [email protected].
The willingness of St. Catherine’s Center for Children to embrace change and develop new services is, and will remain, our guiding philosophy as we support human service needs, throughout the region, by providing a comprehensive range of services designed to offer hope, foster growth and improve the lives of the children, families and adults we serve.
For more information, http://www.st-cath.org.