New York State Kinship Care Program

Many grandparents as well as other relatives in New York State have nobly accepted the responsibility for raising their kin. These kinship caregivers usually face a number of obstacles in their effort to acquire health, education, financial, and legal services for the children in their care. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services created the New York State Kinship Caregiver Program to help people caring for related children. This program enables community-based organizations to deliver a wide range of services that address the various needs of caregivers and the children in their care. New York State Kinship caregivers now have a comprehensive statewide resource for information and referral, the NYS Kinship Navigator Program. It is funded by New York State to assist all caregivers by providing a statewide information and referral service to kinship caregivers. Their Web site is www.nysnavigator.org. You may call the NYS Kinship Navigator Program toll-free at 1-877-454-6463. The NYS Kinship Navigator provides fact sheets on laws and resources; answers to frequently asked questions on kinship care; county guides on kinship care giving; forums for caretakers and service providers; and access to a kinship specialist via a toll free phone number. The program also answers questions regarding legal rights regarding custody and visitation; decision-making authority; access to official records; eligibility for public assistance, foster care, tax credits, childcare, and respite; and other resources. In Clinton and Franklin counties, the Child Care Coordinating Council Kinship Caregiver Program offers information and referral, support groups, respite, financial assistance, advocacy, parenting education programs, and family activities through their network of Family Resource Centers. This includes Family Connections in Plattsburgh, Families R Us in Malone and Family Matters in Tupper Lake. The Child Care Coordinating Council Kinship Caregiver Program has only one requirement: the relatives child/children must physically reside with you in Clinton or Franklin counties. It is not necessary to have legal custody of the child and all services are free of charge. For more information, call Nancy Buckpitt at the Child Care Coordinating Council, 561-4999, or toll free at 1-800-540-2273. All information provided was current as of January 2008 from the NYS Kinship Program and Kinship Navigator Program Web sites as well as the Child Care Coordinating Council.

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