caregivers.160 A similar model to provide support to kinship caregivers is a parent-to-parent
support network where experienced kinship caregivers, either individually or through peer-led
groups, can provide much needed support to other kinship caregivers through their firsthand
knowledge of the challenges of providing foster care to one’s relative. This is a recommended
model for many reasons, including the fact that kinship caregivers may be more forthcoming with
other kinship caregivers who have immediate credibility due to their experience providing care to
a relative, versus a professional.
Kinship Navigator programs are another method by which kinship caregivers can receive
support to navigate the foster care system. California currently operates a patchwork of Kinship
Navigator programs across the state.161 Many of these Kinship Navigator programs are conducted
by phone, while there is also a limited number of programs that are offered in-person and on-site
at local agencies.162 Expansion and coordination of Kinship Navigator programs across the state
would assist kinship caregivers in obtaining the necessary benefits and services to improve their
caregiving, thus improving outcomes and healthy development for the children placed in their
homes. One centralized contact number would have the dual benefit of providing a centralized
method for promoting the Kinship Navigator program across the state and allow kinship care
providers to only need to go to one place, rather than to navigate the patchwork of programs. This
centralized number could then link to local Kinship Navigator services, where available, and
provide links to other resources when local Kinship Navigator programs are not available.
Additionally, a centralized Kinship Navigator program should provide responders who are fluent
in Spanish and other languages to facilitate communication with kinship caregivers when English
is not their primary language. In 2017, the Brookdale Foundation Relatives as Parents Program
(RAPP) issued a request for proposals to provide local and state seed grants to generate and expand
services to kinship caregivers.163 A mandate of these grants to state agencies is to develop a
statewide network to serve as a focal point for information on kinship caregiving programs and
policies.164 This requirement for the RAPP seed grants is consistent with the recommendation of
this paper to have a centralized state contact number for kinship resources.
In addition to providing linkages to local resources, specific support groups are extremely
beneficial to kinship care providers. As Gregory C. Smith found in his exploratory study of how
grandparents providing kinship care view support groups, the needs and interests of the kinship
caregivers involved in the program must be assessed to provide relevant and beneficial supportive
160 FY 2009 Children’s Bureau Discretionary Grant Awards, CHILD. BUREAU, AN OFFICE OF THE ADMIN. FOR CHILD.
& FAM. (Dec. 31, 2009), https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/discretionary-grant-awards-2009.
161 See EDGEWOOD KINSHIP SUPPORT, https://edgewood.org/kinship-support/ (last visited Feb. 15, 2018) (providing
support to kinship caregivers in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties); CHILD. INST., INC.,
http://www.childrensinstitute.org/ourwork/programsandservices (last visited Nov. 7, 2017) (providing services in Los
Angeles to kinship care providers through their Grandma’s House program); CATH. CHARITIES & RESOURCE CTR.,
http://www.catholiccharitiesscc.org/kinship-resource-center-program (last visited Nov. 7, 2017) (providing
supportive services to Kinship caregivers in Santa Clara County).
162 See EDGEWOOD KINSHIP SUPPORT, supra note 161; CHILD. INST., INC., supra note 161; CATH. CHARITIES &
RESOURCE CTR, supra note 161.
163 2017 Relatives As Parents (RAPP) Request for Proposals for Agencies Interested in Creating or Expanding
Supportive Services for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children, THE BROOKDALE FOUNDATION GROUP,
http://www.brookdalefoundation.net/RAPP/RAPPforms/2017RAPPrfp.html (last visited Feb. 15, 2018) [hereinafter