In March of 2005, staff from a group of agencies met to discuss the unique challenges of this special group of caregivers. The Southwest Washington Area Agency on Aging, Child Protective Services, Department of Child and Family Services, the Department of Health and Human Services Community Services Office, the Post-Adoption Resource Center, Children's Home Society of Washington, foster parents and grandparents raising grandchildren formed the Coalition to focus attention on the resources, programs, activities and needs of this unique group of caregivers.
Mission Statement: The Clark County Kinship Care Coalition will, through a collaborative effort among those who support kinship caregivers, improve access to information, assistance and support for kinship caregivers in Clark County.
Preliminary goals of this group are to:
- Create an inter-agency, public/private, Clark County Kinship Care Coalition. The initial focus for the Coalition is to provide networking opportunities and education for Coalition members regarding the needs and issues of kinship caregivers;
- Identify, improve, publicize and sustain, where necessary, existing services to kinship caregivers within the county;
- Begin the process of education, including within member agencies and organizations, about the needs of kinship caregivers and advocate for policies that support kinship family needs;
- Advocate for the creation and maintenance of kinship care support groups throughout the County;
- Conduct public outreach and education through presentations by Coalition members, attendance at conferences, workshops, community fairs and through the development of web based information access and resource manuals available to the public;
- Collaborate with Washington State's Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP), the Kinship Navigator program and other statewide organizations dedicated to building support and services for kinship caregivers.
The Cowlitz Kinship Care Coalition was re-formed in March of 2009. The Coalition is comprised of a collection of Cowlitz County service providers who regularly come into contact with Kinship Caregivers in the community. The goal as a Coaltion is to assess the needs of the Caregiver community and how we as a Coalition can best reach out to the caregiver community to make sure their needs are addressed and met. The Coaltion's first collaboration was to form a Kinship Caregiver Support Group. The support is held twice a month, the second and fourth Tuesday at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Longview from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. The Cowlitz Kinship Care Coaltion hopes to offer a Kinship Caregiver Resource Fair and various respite events in the future.
If you're interested in joining the Coalition or have questions about the Support Group, please call Tammy Bedlion at 1-877-SWWAKIN. (1-877-799-2546), or send an emailemail.
An increasing number of grandparents are raising grandchildren and parenting the second time around! Of course, it's not a phenomenon limited to Grandparents — Aunts, uncles, great aunts, cousins, and older siblings are often challenged by the need to take a related child into their home. Please support this new initiative. These Kinship caregivers deserve our support as they have taken on the often daunting task of raising special children each of whom have unique special needs.
Click here and fill out the form if you are interested in being a part of the Kinship Care Coalition.