Updated: Mar 2
By Diane Yeo, Family Support Specialist for Kinship Navigation
We often hear, “What is a kinship family?”
A kinship family refers to the care of children by relatives or, in some cases, close family friends (often referred to as fictive kin). These close friends and relatives, very often grandparents, are considered kinship caregivers. They are the preferred guardians for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains their connection to their family.
In response to the increased number of kinship families in our state, the NH Children’s Trust is developing a targeted Kinship Navigator Program within statewide Family Resource Centers. They are essential to this effort because they are community hubs for families and have connections to local resources and family supports. This initiative provides greater access to information, referrals, and follow-up services for grandparents and other relatives raising children, and connects them to the benefits and services their family needs. We are working in partnership with the State and local organizations to promote this program and sensitize agencies and providers to the needs of kinship families.
This program creates Kinship Navigator positions throughout the state to assist kinship families with access to resources and information. The Kinship Navigator will have connections with statewide child and family support agencies and individuals, an extensive knowledge of available resources, and will be important advocates for change within the formal systems of care. They will participate in community outreach, refer kinship caregivers to available resources and services specific to their family’s needs, and provide support for financial assistance applications and for kinship caregivers pursuing legal guardianship. In summary, the Kinship Navigator will provide critical guidance to kinship caregivers navigating large, complex service systems.
In partnership with the State and Family Resource Centers, the NH Children’s Trust is providing infrastructure for the development and execution of this program. We will provide training resources for Kinship Navigators, assist Family Resource Centers with the maintenance of this program, and provide marketing and promotional resources to connect kinship families with their local Family Resource Center and Kinship Navigator.
This program will enhance resources within our statewide community due to the linkage to services and increased access for kinship caregivers, ensuring all families are supported and children can thrive.