September Is Kinship Care Month in New York State: Celebration September 8, Albany NY Press Release

September Is Kinship Care Month in New York State:

Celebration September 8, Albany NY

For Immediate Release

Contact: Gerard Wallace, Esq. Director, NYS Kinship Navigator
September 7, 2016

gwallace@albany.edu // (845) 594-6398

Event:  Celebration of Kinship Care Month Luncheon and Awards

Location:  Albany Institute of History and Art, 125 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY

Time:  11:30am – 1:30 pm

This September is Kinship Care Month in New York.  For the third year, legislators in the Senate and Assembly unanimously passed resolutions declaring September as Kinship Care Month and the Governor has also again issued a proclamation.  Similar resolutions have passed in seven other states and the U.S. Senate.

This year, the NYS Kinship Navigator is hosting a celebration for caregivers and supporters. Speakers are Dean Darrell P. Wheeler, U. at Albany School of Social Welfare, Commissioner Sheila Poole, Office of Children and Family Services, and Donna Bradbury, Assoc. Commissioner, Office of Mental Health as well as caregivers and supporters.  A trailer for new film about kinship care, “The Face of Kinship” will be shown.
Guests include honorees for “CURA” awards presented by the NYS KinCare Coalition: Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Caregiver Maguerite Roper, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County.
Kinship care refers to the more than 200,000 families in New York State who are grandparents and other relatives raising the children of family members. Children who enter into the care of relatives often do so for the same reasons they might enter into foster care, because their parents are unable or unfit to care for them.  Recently, there’s been a surge in kinship care in suburban and rural New York, due to the heroin crisis.

According to a 2014 study published by the Center for Disease Control, children in non-parental care were more likely to have experienced adverse family experiences. “Compared with children living with two biological parents, children in non-parental care were about 1.5 times as likely to be living in a household in which it was often difficult to afford basics, five times as likely to have ever lived with a mentally ill caregiver or parent, six times as likely to have witnessed neighborhood violence, fifteen times as likely to have witnessed caregiver or parent violence, eleven times as likely to have lived with a caregiver or parent with an alcohol or drug problem, and seventeen times as likely to have experienced caregiver or parent incarceration” (Radel & Bramlett, 2014).

Kinship caregivers overcome these challenges. They are a national resource for vulnerable children, with grandparents and relatives caring for children who’ve experienced trauma from abuse, neglect, and parental loss. Research has shown that children who live with relatives after being removed from their parents often have better outcomes than children who enter foster care with strangers.

New York State is a national leader in recognizing the efforts of kinship caregivers. The Governor, the New York State Legislature, the Office of Children and Family Services and the Office of Aging have been especially supportive of kinship.  Several sponsors and celebration speakers have offered their thoughts on kinship care.

Senator Marty Golden, who this year again introduced the resolution in the Senate, stated, “I am proud to continue supporting efforts to adopt Kinship awareness here in New York State in order to recognize those who have committed themselves to care for a family member. The New York State Legislature adopts this Resolution each year as a tribute to the more than 200,000 families here in the Empire State who selflessly cares for the children of other members of their families. These New Yorkers are making a lasting difference in our communities, and mindful of this, we must advance awareness, funding and support of Kinship Care.”

New York State Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Kinship Care Month is an important reminder of the over 400,000 children who are eligible for Kinship Services in New York State. I strongly encourage caregivers in our communities to take advantage of these support programs available on the Kinship Navigator website. The care of a family member can make all of the difference in a child’s life. The Senate Democratic Conference and I are committed to providing the advocacy, legislation and funding necessary to maintain services like family placement, counseling, tutoring, parenting skills and health education for the children and caregivers who need it most.”

“Grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings and other relative caregivers are vitally important in caring for children whose parents, for a variety of reasons, are unable to care for them,” said acting Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “New York State is proud to support these heroic individuals who help bring permanency, stability, and most importantly, love to children who need them and who enjoy successful lives thanks to the contributions from their relative caregivers.”

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, stated, “The invaluable care offered by kinship families throughout the state helps keep children from entering the foster care system. The Assembly has advocated for kinship caregivers in the past, and I am committed to making the program a priority during the upcoming budget negotiations.”

With the passage of this resolution again this year, New York has led the way for other states.  Virginia, Vermont,
Arizona, New Jersey, Vermont, Ohio, and South Dakota have issued proclamations and kinship advocates in California, Nevada, Florida, Connecticut, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas anticipate proclamations before next year.

For more information on kinship families, services, or September’s upcoming events, visit the Kinship Navigator’s website at www.nysnavigator.org.

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