Imagine this: you and several other relative caregivers, mostly grandparents, have been meeting at the local senior center with a little help from Senior Center staff. The Senior Center provides space, snacks, and guidance with inviting speakers to come to the group once in a while. From your conversations with each other you know you need to reach out to other kinship families. You know that some of you need specific help with legal or other human service issues, but no one seems to have the time to make such help happen. You know it is time to get specific leadership and a plan to make services happen.
Then you hear about the Brookdale Foundation grant proposals and you think maybe this could be a good launching point for your own local kinship care group.
You and other members of the group make a list of how you see your kinship care support group - your vision of your own local Kinship Care Resource Center with:
Regular meetings with experts offering assistance to kinship families. Topics include registering and helping children in school; making a strong financial plan including a will; dealing with taxes now that your family has expanded; when and how to seek guardianship or other secure authority for the children; dealing with angry or upset little ones; getting appropriate health care.
- Newsletters that reach out into your community about issues and resources of interest to kinship families.
- Services for relative caregivers such as assistance with social services, legal concerns, respite, counseling, and help with immediate needs.
- Someone to work collaboratively with other groups in the community on broader issues such as housing and transportation.
- Developing a library of resources for kinship families on a variety of issues including fetal alcohol syndrome, child abuse and neglect, HIV babies, grief, etc
Okay, you all say, the list is long – how are we going to make this happen?
For financial support like the Brookdale Foundation grant you must be a non-profit organization [501(c)(3)]. So you go to the Senior Center, which is already a non-profit, and request that they apply for the grant on behalf of the grandfamilies they are already assisting. You become part of a committee with the Senior Center staff that studies the guidelines from Brookdale Foundation to prepare the grant that will start the Kinship Care Resource Center in your community. You realize that the details of the grant such as matching community funds and a plan to continue the program after the two-year grant is completed are all part of making the Resource Center a valuable entity in the community.
You submit the grant before December 4 and hope that you will be one of 30 groups that are approved.
One of the important gifts of a seed grant, such as the Brookdale Foundation offer, is recognizing that working together in the community strengthens the group and all who support the project.
Learn about the Brookdale Foundation request for proposals at http://www.brookdalefoundation.org/ I hope all small kinship care groups can look at grant opportunities like this to develop an image of the local Kinship Care Resource Center, choose an appropriate non-profit organization to sponsor the Center, hire a coordinator and assure that local relative caregivers are receiving valuable services.
See the September 5 Kincare blog on Kinship Care Resource Centers.