September as National Kinship Care Month was celebrated at the Children’s Bureau on Friday, September 30.  More than a dozen states have joined onto a national effort to celebrate kin families in the month of September.

The Bureau celebration, which was also webcast, including comments by several kinship care givers from several cities including New York, Baltimore and Washington DC.  Gerald Wallace, Director, New York State Kinship Navigator, one of the chief promoters of the campaign to more formally recognize September as a month of celebration of kin families, discussed the past history of the effort as well as to recognize some of the relative caregivers who were present and who he has worked with.  The gathering also included comments by Jaia Lent, Deputy Executive Director, Generations United who urged on participants to be active in their community and in Washington in promotion of better support for kinship families.

Participants also heard remarks from Administration for Children and Families Commissioner Rafael Lopez.  In his remarks on kinship care the Commissioner also talked about the Families First Act and its failure to get a vote before Congress left for the election.  He discussed the difficulty in attempting to get legislation passed that was a compromise on what many parties may have preferred but he also said that the effort was not done yet and suggested the possibility of action later this year.

This year and in the past several states including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming have either adopted gubernatorial proclamation or state legislative resolutions honoring kinship families in their respective states.  For more information on Kinship Care Month go here.