Wednesday, May 6 the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth held the first of a series of four briefings during National Foster Care Month (May). The caucus chaired by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) focused the first discussion on kinship care. Opening remarks were provided by Senator Grassley and Senator Stabenow’s offices. They were followed by remarks from Donna Butts from Generations United who highlighted the number of relatives providing care both in and outside of child welfare, public assistance and in private settings.

On the two panels: JJ Hitch from Michigan, a young person who had been removed from his family along with his siblings and who received the support of his grandparents. This panel also included comments by Linda James a caregiver from Washington DC, and Ta’ Kijah Randolph another young adulthood who had been cared for by relatives. The second panel featured Meredith Matone from PolicyLab, Philadelphia Nicholas Cobb-Stern, Washington DC, Child and Family Services and Dolores Bryant from New Jersey. The overall discussion focused on the benefits of kinship care with the general message around the need for more support for families.

One of the topics for the discussion was the use of Kinship Navigator programs, CWLA Press has now released, Kinship Navigators: Profiles of Family Connections Projects from 2012 to 2015. The publication by Gerard P. Wallace, Liliana Hernandez, and Julie Treinen, in light of the growth in the number of children who are living formally or informally with their relatives the significant efforts needed to provide support services for kin families.

With the enactment of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success Act, grants were provided to fund kinship navigator programs, Kinship Navigators highlights the work of the seven kinship navigator Family Connection Grant projects, providing a closer view of the programs and services and the children and families that they serve. Available for purchase online at Kinship Navigators: Profiles of Family Connections Projects from 2012 to 2015