Kinship Connections
of Wyoming Blog

Welcome and thank you for joining Kinship Connections of Wyoming!

Kinship Connections of Wyoming is a free program that was implemented to meet the growing needs of grandparents, relatives and other caregivers who are raising children who are not their own. The program was initiated by Wyoming 2-1-1 in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Family Services and the Wyoming Citizen Review Panel. Kinship Connections officially began serving kinship caregivers in December 2019 and since that time the program's Kinship Navigators have had the opportunity to work with over twenty families.

The Kinship Connections of Wyoming blog and newsletter are intended to be here for kinship caregivers and collaborating community resources. We will provide up to date and relevant information regarding upcoming events, important topics, resources, and support. Today and always we welcome your feedback regarding our program or the content we share with you.

We see each of you, we appreciate all you do, and we are a part of your team. We look forward to growing together and serving you in new ways.

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If you would like to learn more about Kinship Connections of Wyoming, you can look through our website or you can reach us by simply dialing 2-1-1 and ask for Kinship Connections. Furthermore, if you know of a family who could benefit from our program you can direct them to simply dial 2-1-1 or you can complete our online referral form

Did you know that Kinship Connections of Wyoming offers a monthly newsletters? We would love for you to join our mailing list by imputing your information below. You can also click here to view all our previous letters.  

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June Blog

June 16, 2022

June is National Trauma awareness month. As we have stated many times, children truly thrive in kinship homes. While the situations that brought children into care are most of the time painful and not at all ideal, being with their family and familiarity is so important. Generations United generated a report regarding the protective role of grandparents and other relatives in raising children exposed to trauma. This is a wonderful resource to professionals and caregivers. Please visit it below: https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2018/05/Grandfamilies-Report-SOGF-2017.pdf 

Here is a brief story of a caregiver in our program who has taken trauma with her grandsons head on.
In 2019, Cherie took her two grand sons ages 2 and 4 into her home and didn’t think twice about it. The Department of Human Services in Colorado remained involved and Cherie had multiple meetings, requirements and stressors involved with the child welfare system involvement which many caregivers experience. Her grandsons experienced multiple behavioral trauma responses in her home. These included nightmares, potty training regression, physical aggression, and emotional distress on a daily basis. Cherie went through setbacks every time visitation was started and disrupted with the biological parents. Cherie tried her best to create a consistent and safe place for the boys. Cherie has taken so many opportunities to learn and grown. Every training opportunity, educational material, or parenting course Cherie has been given, she has taken and really soaked in the information. She has also closely worked with a Parent Educator at Parents as Teachers. Cherie is thankful for the services KCOW and other programs have given her on her journey. Today they still struggle but know they are safe with their grandmother and can move forward in their journey. Having a consistent caregiver is so important for children not living with their parents. Cherie was that for her grandsons and so many of our caregivers are that for the children in their care. This is not an easy task but it is life changing.

Mental Health Awareness

May 12, 2022

May is mental health awareness month. Mental health is becoming something people talk about on more of a regular basis but still...
Child Abuse Awareness

Types of Prevention

April 7, 2022

The theme of Child Abuse Prevention Month 2022 presented by WY Childrens Trust Fund and Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming is " Growing a better tomorrow for all children together". Everyday families, individuals, and professionals work tirelessly to make a difference and prevent child abuse. April is a month dedicated to bringing awareness to child abuse and ways it can be prevented. Together change is possible.

Almost every person in our community will tell you they are against child abuse and would “save” a child if they could but what if we put systematic things in place to prevent it all together. As a previous child protection caseworker in both the state of Wyoming and Colorado, I have seen first hand, wonderful and great families end up in abuse and neglect situations. 99% of the families who end up in these situations love their children.  Being a full time caregiver to a child or children is one of the most tiring, stressful, and diminishing tasks. Especially, when you are of the age of retirement and didn’t have any plans of raising your grandchildren. It is natural and normal to be overwhelmed and to need help and honestly on someone’s worst day they may do something they very much regret. So, how do we as a community come together and help prevent families from getting there?
            
There are three types of prevention as presented by Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming(https://pcawy.org/prevention-prevenci%C3%B3n ). Primary Prevention which is strategies that prevent a problem from occurring. This can be weekly “respite” to a family. If you know someone that needs a babysitter, even if they don’t ask, offer. It is had to ask for help so as a community, lets get in the habit of offering to step in, help do some laundry, let the caregiver go get a cup of coffee alone and in peace. Some people don’t have the luxury of a friend offering to help, but do they know another caregiver? Could those two caregivers work together to give each other a break. One takes 3 kids for an afternoon and the other does it the next day. So many times, people are scarred to ask and to offer, lets commit together to ask and to offer. Another simple way to help prevent is to stop judging and to be helpful. When we see a caregiver in Kingsoopers struggling with a 3 year old screaming, don’t just stare. What if we held the door, asked what they needed, or said “hello”, so they know they are not alone. So many times our own insecurities get in the way of offering support to those around us. Together, lets stop doing that.

Two other levels of prevention are secondary prevention which is targeting at risk populations in productive ways. Referring families to home visiting programs such as Parents as Teachers or Early Head Start. These are wonderful community based programs who help give caregivers strategies and support. Lastly, Tertiary Prevention is strategies that address the problem after it occurs. If we can prevent getting to this point, that’d be ideal, but not always realistic. If you see abuse occurring, report and support.  Also, kinship care is a form of tertiary prevention and if a child cant be with their primary caregiver, being with family is best. If you know a family in this situation, refer them over to Kinship Connections of Wyoming and we will get them as much support as we can.  Together we can grow a better tomorrow for all children.
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Child Abuse Awareness