Press Release (ePRNews.com) - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Nov 19, 2020 - When a parent becomes unwilling or unable to care for their own children due to incarceration, addiction, abandonment, immaturity or death, the child ends up either in the foster care or under the guardianship of a “kin caregiver.” Kin caregivers are family members or close family friends who willingly assume the responsibility of caring for these children. However, resources and services available to traditional foster parents have been denied to kin caregivers.
More than 13% of children in New Mexico live with someone other than their parents—that’s more than 64,000 kids. 77% of this group are being raised by grandparents. If these children are fortunate enough to move in with extended family or a close family friend, research shows that the severity of childhood trauma is greatly reduced, resiliency and mental health outcomes are significantly improved, and fewer siblings end up being separated.
A Federal Kinship Navigator Grant provided the necessary resources required to launch the Fostering Family Program, providing support to kinship caregivers previously reserved for foster parents.
“As a kin caregiver myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the difficulty in getting support when I was suddenly caring for two additional children other my own. I wasn’t in the foster-care system. I didn’t qualify for services or have the legal footing to manage important situations like visitation. Not being aware of where to look for help and going out of pocket for legal support made a difficult situation worse,” says Leandrea Romero-Lucero, PhD, LPCC, Fostering Family Program Director. “Fostering Family is here now. The program can step in and help guide you through a wide array of available financial, legal, and therapeutic resources. Now we just need to get the word out so that people can apply.”
Applicants do not have to be a relative or legal guardian in order to qualify. The program is available to anyone raising a child or children of another family member or friend outside of the traditional foster care system. The goal is to allow children to remain in their family and stay connected to their culture and reduce the long-term effects of childhood trauma.
Fostering Family is made possible in collaboration with New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department and Southwest Family Guidance Center, a designated Relative Success Center. The program provides a coordinated and comprehensive array of resources for kinship caregivers in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, and Rio Arriba counties. Requests from other New Mexico counties are considered on a case-by-case basis.
FREE SERVICES INCLUDE:
· Assessment Of Need & Eligibility
· Referrals For Government Services
· Education Related To Kinship Care
· Guardianship Packets For School & Medical Services
· Legal Services
· Federal, State, And Local Benefits
· Therapeutic Services
· Behavioral Management Services
· Case Management
· Peer Support Services
· Individual & Family Therapy
For more information, please visit fosteringfamily.com
Leandrea Romero-Lucero, PhD, LPCC, Fostering Family Program Director
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