Kinship Care Month Press Release

Caregivers, Advocates Celebrated at Kinship Care Month Celebration

ALBANY, NY – September 9, 2021 – The New York State KinCare Coalition hosted the 8th celebration of September as Kinship Care Month with an online event and presented its 7th annual CURA Awards to outstanding caregivers, organizations, professionals, and champions around the state.

“Today, we celebrate the treasured natural resource of kinship caregivers statewide, and highlight the important contribution that kin play in supporting and raising children, along with the advocates who fight so fiercely for them,” said Rae Glaser, Director of the NYS Kinship Navigator, an information, referral, and advocacy program for kinship caregivers in New York State.

Kinship Care refers to non-parent relatives – grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings – or close family friends who take on the responsibility of raising a child when the parent is unable to do so. In New York, some 195,000 children are living with relatives or family friends who are their primary caregivers.

The annual kinship care month celebration took place via Zoom and featured remarks from NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and New York State Senator Shelley B. Mayer.

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Kinship Care was presented to Gerard Wallace, Esq., the founding Director of the NYS Kinship Navigator. From 1999 to 2005, Wallace was director of Hunter College’s Grandparent Caregiver Law Center. From 2005 to 2010 he was the project consultant for the AARP Kincare Project. He is past director of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights and has written extensively on kinship care policy and practice.

CURA Awards, from the Latin “to care,” were presented to:  
– Outstanding Professional: Marya Gilborn, Director of Social Services, The Family Center
– Outstanding Organization: Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition (AFFCNY)  
– Kinship Champion: NYS Senator Roxanne Persaud, Chair of Committee on Social Services  
– Outstanding Kinship Caregivers
Kate & Dave Kruk, Rotterdam
Kathleen and Faino Coleman, White Plains
Ellen Early, Cazenovia
John Medina, Brooklyn  
Doris Lewis, Brooklyn

The program also included a presentation from Pat Lincourt, Associate Commissioner for the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports titled “Kinship Care Toolkit for Talking About Parental Addiction: Addressing Substance Use and Related Mental Health Concerns.”

“We’re so pleased to be able to highlight the important contribution that Kinship Caregivers play in supporting and raising children,” said Glaser. “Each of these honorees is helping to raise stronger kids and build a better future for all of us in New York.”

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