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March 2004Vol. 5, No. 2Resource Kits for Kinship Care and Children's Mental Health

The Child Welfare and Mental Health Division of the Children's Defense Fund recently published two resource kits aimed at improving the health and safety of vulnerable children and their families.

The Kinship Care Resource Kit is designed to help community- and faith-based organizations support grandparents and other relatives raising children whose parents cannot or will not care for them. These kinship caregivers often face unique difficulties due to their age, income level, and barriers to obtaining services.

The Resource Kit offers basic information, strategies for providing support, and lists of resources that community- and faith-based groups can implement and share. Some of the "how to" strategies include:

  • How one individual can help
  • Starting a support group
  • Ten ways to say "thank you" to kinship caregivers
  • Setting up a respite care program
  • Organizing activities for children in kinship care
  • Offering parent education programs
  • Identifying cash assistance programs
  • Sharing resources for special needs

The Children's Mental Health Resource Kit is designed to help children's advocates promote access to mental health screens and assessments. The goal is to provide the 4 million youth who suffer from a major mental illness with early and regular assessments and access to treatment and support services. The Resource Kit provides a series of fact sheets on the issue as well as practical strategies for addressing the mental health needs of children at the community and State levels.

The Kinship Care Resource Kit can be downloaded at the Children's Defense Fund website at (638 KB), or copies may be obtained by calling (202) 662-3568. Find the Children's Mental Health Resource Kit online at (759 KB), or order copies by calling (202) 662-3575.

Related Items

Generations United has posted an issue brief on their website ( (Editor's note: Link no longer active) that provides basic data about the numbers and economic circumstances of grandparents raising grandchildren in the United States. The KinNET program of Generations United is offering a video highlighting best practices in supporting grandparents and other kin who are raising children. The video is available by calling (202) 289-3979 (cost is $3 to cover shipping and handling).