Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller and Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres launched www.kinconnector.org, a resource designed to help kinship care families connect to services and supports that can help children and their caregivers.
Grandparents raising grandchildren are among the most common type of kinship caregiver, but kinship care families also can include an aunt or uncle, adult sibling, or a non-relative caregiver such as a close family friend raising a child when their parents cannot care for them. Kinship care arrangements help maintain family bonds and reduce trauma experienced when children cannot be cared for by their own parents.
“Kinship caregivers make a selfless choice to care for young loved ones so they receive care and support from a family member they know and trust. As children navigate their own emotions around their family situation, this connection and familiarity can be a grounding force necessary to help children process and heal,” said Sec. Miller. “While this can be an easy choice for kinship caregivers, navigating this new family situation can have its challenges for both the caregiver and children. KinConnector is here to be a resource and support to ease this process for the entire kinship family.”
KinConnector was established through Act 89 of 2018 and is part of a kinship navigator program for Pennsylvania. After a competitive procurement process, The Bair Foundation was selected to administer the kinship navigator program coordinator and will work with kinship care families around Pennsylvania to help them access resources and supports and connect with families in similar situations around the commonwealth.
Kinship caregivers can visit the KinConnector website to find resources in their communities, learn about trainings and services available for kinship families, and find support groups and networks of other kinship care families and family care professionals.
“All across Pennsylvania, there are grandparents playing a vital, leading role in caring for their grandchildren,” said Secretary Torres. “These grandparents provide the love and stability that children need and deserve. The KinConnector website is one tool to help provide support to and make life a little easier for these special families.”
KinConnector also runs a helpline that can be reached by calling 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111) The KinConnector helpline is staffed by knowledgeable, compassionate social service professionals prepared to help kinship care families understand and access resources that may be able to help them. The helpline is available from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The KinConnector helpline can support callers needing assisting in English and Spanish.
More information about KinConnector can be found at www.kinconnector.org.
For more information on resources available for kinship families and grandparents raising grandchildren, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.