2:15 - 2:30 | Kinship Navigators and Remote Assistance: Virtual Case Management
The COVID pandemic has forced many agencies to learn how to provide services such as case management and support virtually. The NYS Kinship Navigator, in operation since 2006, provides information, education and referral to all caregivers in NYS. Since 2018, the Navigator has been piloting a Virtual Case Assistance program in 8 counties in NY, offering case management and support groups virtually to caregivers - connecting them to a case manager who provides assistance via phone and email to provide them with assistance obtaining benefits, understanding their legal options, and connecting them to resources in their area. KN has also worked with several kinship programs in NYS to pilot peer support groups which are conducted via zoom to assist caregivers with needs and support.
Speakers: Rae Glaser, NYS Kinship Navigator | Ryan Johnson, NYS Kinship Navigator
2:30 - 2:45 | Preparing Formal Kinship Caregivers for the Caregiver Journey
In 2018 the Children’s Bureau funded a cooperative agreement to build and develop the Nation’s first open-access, state of the art, foster and adoptive parent training and development curriculum. This curriculum is being piloted in 7 states and one tribal nation both in-person and remotely. Specific themes were developed to prepare kinship caregivers for their parenting role. The curricular content was developed based on an extensive search of the literature, interviews with kinship caregivers and youth, and expert advice received from a national committee of experts. This presentation provides the results of the findings from the systematic review, interviews, and content experts. Participants will also receive an overview of the curriculum and how it was adapted for kinship caregivers who are seeking foster parent licensure and/or adoption/guardianship through the child welfare system. Participants will see the curriculum content and learn how it can be implemented within their own systems.
Speakers: Angelique Day, University of Washington School of Social Work | Melida Lis, Spaulding for Children | Karen Alvord, Lilliput
2:45 - 3:00 | Voices at the Table: Creating a Kinship Advisory Council
Looking for ways to engage both kinship care providers and organizations working with caregivers? Hear from South Carolina's Kinship Advisory Council, created by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and led by community partners. With a focus on meeting the diverse needs of caregivers, learn how the Council prioritizes awareness events and coordinates advocacy activities as a unified statewide voice. This session brings together ideas and recommendations to bring all voices to the table in order to lift up and support caregivers at the local and state level.
Speakers: Megan Branham, North Public Relations
NYS Kinship Navigator
Rae Glaser has been with the Kinship Navigator program since 2006, where she started as the first kinship specialist. Since then, she has worked with thousands of caregivers over the phone and via email. In 2020, became the director of the program. She manages the budget, database, website, and liaisons with local kinship program providers across the state. She also acts as the regional navigator for western NY. Ms. Glaser has a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology, and is in the process of completing her Masters Degree in Business Administration. She has been working in non-profit since 2004, and has experience working with domestic violence victims, Child Protective Services, and people with developmental disabilities.
Partners for Our Children
Angelique Day, PhD, MSW, Ho Chunk descendant, is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington Seattle, and a faculty affiliate and federal policy lead for Partners for Our Children, a research and policy think tank focused on child welfare policy and practice innovation. Dr. Day is the lead evaluator of Washington State's kinship navigator initiative, and an evaluation consultant for Casey Family Program's Cross Site Kinship Navigation program efforts. She also has extensive experience studying the phenomena of grandfamilies in tribal communities. Dr. Day's lived expertise as a state ward, research, and legislative experience undergird her national leadership on ICWA, kinship care, foster parent recruitment/retention, and education access and support for youth who experience foster care.
Spaulding for Children
Melinda Lis is the Vice President of the Academy for Family Support and Preservation at Spaulding for Children. She has led several national adoption/foster care initiatives, the most recent being the National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster/Adoptive Parents. Melinda worked with Dr. Mark Testa on early research done in Illinois on kinship caregivers and assisted with the statewide implementation of Delegated Relative Authority, a precursor to Subsidized Guardianship. She also developed and coordinated a statewide program in Illinois for informal kinship caregivers called the Extended Family Services Program. Melinda received her Master degree from the University of Chicago and her Bachelor degree from the University of Alabama. Melinda and her husband were licensed foster parents in Illinois and have since adopted three children.
Karen Alvord is the Chief Impact Officer and Executive VP for Lilliput, a part of Wayfinder Family Services. She is a licensed clinical social worker and holds two master degrees, one in business and one in social work. Karen has dedicated her career to creating and overseeing child welfare practices that promote child well-bring and thriving families. As the mother of 7 children (four through kinship adoption), she wears the multiple hats of child welfare professional, experienced kin caregiver and adoptive parent. She has been a recognized leader in the field, with more than 30 years of experience, and a frequent speaker and trainer at local and national workshops. She was a consultant for NTDC, leading the adaptation of the curriculum for kinship caregivers.
North Public Relations
With more than 15 years of experience implementing programs in a nonprofit setting and advocating for policy change at the state and federal level, Megan Branham has a passion for data-driven outcomes, research-informed policy and effective strategy to create justice and well-being for all. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Megan holds a Masters in Social Work and is a graduate of the Annie E Casey Foundation's Leadership for State Based Advocates. Leading North's Columbia, SC office, Megan works closely with North clients to manage strategic communications efforts, develop comprehensive digital marketing and social media branding, advance advocacy priorities and build collaborative partnerships with like-minded allies. Megan currently serves as chair of the South Carolina Kinship Advisory Council.