Being placed with a familiar person can lessen the fear and anxiety children may have about being in foster care. But these placements have their own unique needs and challenges, which is why Arrow recently launched a pilot program focused on kinship care.
“Our kinship families need someone to help walk them through the process—someone who is 100% focused on them when they need help becoming licensed,” said Kari Dodson, Arrow’s new Kinship Coordinator.
About a third of all foster children are in kinship placements. When a child is removed from a home, CPS first looks to see if a family member, or even a close friend, is available to give the child the love and care they deserve.
“It’s always traumatic when a child is removed, but kinship care certainly makes it easier because they’re not going with strangers,” Kari said. “They know the home and they know the family.”
But that means families who had not thought about fostering a child before may suddenly find themselves in need of a license, and quickly. If a kinship family can’t make the regular Arrow trainings, Kari plans to have additional flexible trainings for them.
Additionally, Kari will visit kinship homes early in the certification process to make sure everything is compliance. For instance, state rules mandate that homes can’t have burglar bars, and medicine must be locked away. With Kari’s help, kinship families won’t have to delay their license due to an oversight of a safety regulation.
Kari said she loves working with kinship families because of their dedication to their foster kids.
“They come in with a commitment to the kids, they just flat out need help with the license, and a lot of times they end up adopting if the parents’ rights are terminated,” Kari said. “It’s much more rare for them to give up saying ‘It’s too hard’ or ‘It’s not what I thought.’”
If you or someone you know needs help becoming a foster home for a kinship placement, you can email Kari at [email protected].