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September 2022Vol. 23, No. 7New Podcast Available on Advancing Support for Kinship Caregivers

Kinship care is the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their families and placed in out-of-home care. Relatives (kin), as well as close family friends (fictive kin), can help children in these situations to maintain a sense of normalcy and close connections to their culture, communities, and families.

The podcase episode “Advances in Supporting Kinship Caregivers – Part 1” is a part of a series of podcasts released by Child Welfare Information Gateway that features ways child welfare agencies have strengthened kinship families and helped them to mitigate the challenges they have faced and their unique needs.

This episode discusses a group of kinship-centered programs and services from Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The agency implemented a separate team dedicated to family finding and engagement to identify and retain relatives for kinship placements and use strategies that leverage caregiver peers as mentors to provide emotional support and connect families to supports and services.

The following topics are discussed:

  • Why kin caregivers should be treated differently by agencies and caseworkers and the specific challenges kin caregivers face
  • How to strengthen relationships between caseworkers and kin caregivers
  • The roles and responsibilities of Rhode Island’s family search and engagement team
  • How to adapt a customer service approach across DCYF and what it means for caseworkers to “manage emotions first”

The episode features Melissa Aguiar-Rivard, L.M.H.C., chief of practice standards, Recruitment Development and Support, DCYF; Lori D’Alessio, deputy chief of licensing, DCYF; and Dorn Dougan, regional director, region 4, DCYF.

Listen to the podcast, “Advances in Supporting Kinship Caregivers – Part 1,” to learn more.