Wood's Homes Blog

Kinship Support Program: An introduction to what we do!

June 18, 2019
By Aimee Walsh and Barb Wittig, Wood's Homes Kinship Support Workers
Kinship Support Program: An introduction to what we do!

What is kinship care?

Kinship care is when children are placed with extended family (e.g. grandparents), someone with whom they have a significant relationship or someone from their community/culture. Kinship caregivers receive financial compensation, training and support similar to that of foster parents (Children’s Services - Kinship Orientation Training, 2014).

Wood’s Homes Kinship Support Program consists of two Kinship Support Workers (that’s us!) and our Program Manager, Camella Magulike. We are part of an interconnected group of services offered by Wood’s Homes’ Family Support Network to improve outcomes for children and families. The program began in 2015 and has grown a lot since then, from supporting 16 children placed in 13 kinship homes to supporting 66 children placed in 44 kinship homes in our 2018-2019 reporting period.

So, what does a Kinship Support Worker do?

Our goal is to support Kinship Caregivers in providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment for the child.  We help Kinship Caregivers:

  • Identify what is working well for their family and provide support in working with a complicated situation
  • Advocate for our kinship families and provide practical help when they need it
  • Help our kinship families deal with situations as they arise
  • Use our kinship families’ knowledge and understanding of the child and family to help make a good plan for everyone
  • Support their caregiving role in the child’s safety network and supporting healthy life-long connections for the child
  • Plan for Family Network meetings where everyone meets to talk about how things are going and what will happen next
  • Follow the child’s developmental progress and work with Kinship to support specific needs
  • Provide individualized Kinship Caregiver training to understand the child’s experience and the impact on development and trauma
  • Understand the guidelines, expectations, roles and responsibilities of Kinship Care

What do our Kinship Families say about us?

Our Kinship families appreciate the work that we do as a team. Some feedback includes:

  • Kinship training is offered in home, in a more comfortable setting
  • Kinship Support strongly advocates for what the child needs
  • Kinship Support helps to rebuild trust and reconnect with family