February Coalition Update

2022 Kinship Education Day

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s legislative education day. A recording of the event can be found on the Coalition’s website HERE

A new issue for the Coalition that was first covered at this event is Housing Reform. Testimony from the Grandpower Advocates’ Marcia Spencer related to this issue can be found on the Coalition’s website HERE. We thank Ms. Spencer for providing this testimony and look forward to working with the Grandpower Advocates to work for these reforms!

Next Coalition Meeting – March 8th

Our next Coalition meeting will be Tuesday, March 8th from 12-1pm on Zoom. Please mark your calendars! The link to join will be sent out closer to the date of our meeting. 

Help Grow the Coalition

The NYS Kincare Coalition is committed to elevating the voices of kinship caregivers around policy and practice issues that need to be addressed related to the care of children. 
The Coalition meets bi-monthly to discuss these issues and has developed a policy agenda designed to address identified issues. This year, these issues include:

  1. Fixing the practice of safety plans – the practice in which CPS tells a parent they intend to remove a child “unless you can find a relative to take them” – but proceed to give no help or information to the relative caregiver after they’ve taken the child.
  2. Fixing problems with public assistance – unnecessary hurdles are in place that limit a family’s ability to get benefits like the Non-Parent Grant, vital money for children that can help alleviate the cost of caring for a child. We have two proposals to fix some of the issues with applying for the grant.
  3. Helping poorer caregivers get access to an attorney in court cases – when caregivers are going to court to get custody or guardianship of a child in their care, they are not entitled to an attorney like a parent is. This often leads to delays in court proceedings or adverse outcomes for caregivers. We have a bill that would direct the court to assign free counsel to poorer caregivers in custody and guardianship matters. 
  4. Ensuring services are available to non-foster kinship families – the majority of kinship care happens outside of foster care, with an estimated 195,000 children being raised by family and close friends without parents in the home. Kinship caregivers have specialized needs that kinship programs are well-suited to meet, but funding needs to follow. We advocate to make sure the legislature continues to fund our kinship programs, and push for expansion of services to help meet the needs of our families. 
  5. Expanding Housing Opportunities for Kinship Caregivers – the Coalition is committed to securing “Kinship Housing” as a State Housing Priority and expanding the definition of “Special Needs Populations” in NYS Division of Homes & Community Renewal’s programs to include Kinship Caregivers.

    If you have experience as a caregiver with any of these systems and want to use your voice to help change the way our child welfare, public benefits, and court systems work on behalf of kinship caregivers there are a lot of opportunities to tell your story to legislators and media to help spread the word about what needs to change in our state. We encourage you to get involved! Email us at kincarecoalition@gmail.com.

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