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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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
Setting Boundaries as a Kinship Caregiver

Setting Boundaries as a Kinship Caregiver

January 20, 2022

Setting boundaries can be difficult for many people but can be especially difficult for kinship caregivers.  They are balancing taking on a new role as primary caregiver to their child's child while still being a parent to their own child.  There are conflicting feelings and changes to relationships you normally had with your child that now have to be changed.  For example, maybe you had dinner on Sundays that now cannot occur since you took in your grandchild.  Seeing your own child without their child may lead to guilt.  Adjusting those boundaries is difficult, especially when feelings of guilt come up.
Setting boundaries for those you love can be difficult, but if you keep the best interest of everyone involved, you will have the greatest outcome for everyone.  Sometimes short-term discomfort will lead to long-term success.

To learn more about setting boundaries as a kinship caregiver, read this Embrella article:  http://foster-adoptive-kinship-family-services-nj.org/setting-boundaries-as-a-kinship-provider/
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Setting Boundaries as a Kinship Caregiver

Engaging Kinship Caregivers: Managing Risk Factors - A 5-Part Series

December 15, 2021

" This module explores how one person’s hope can be another person’s denial. Understanding how important hope is for family members is critical to empathetically working with them to maintain these hopes and to make other plans."
It can be common for kinship caregivers to replace denial with hope and fantasy.  What we call denial, caregivers may call hope.   For example, if a caregiver has a daughter on death row and the caregiver is telling the child that her mom might come home one day, that seems like denial.  But for the caregiver it feels like hope. The caregiver still holds hope that maybe she will get a call from the jail.  'Even if she's on a gurney, I get a call, it's hope.'

Hope becomes a risk factor when a caregiver isn't able to form an alternative plan.  When a caregiver expects the birth parent to complete all requirements for reunification 'this time' without alternative planning, that can be a child safety issue.  Caregivers must first be able to manage unfulfilled hopes and fantasies in order to support the children in recovering from broken promises and fantasies from the birth parent.

It is important to be hopeful without letting hope prevent the caregiver from making alternative plans for the children before the courts have to make the decision for them.  The caregiver must be able to plan for the child to be safe no matter the results of the birth parents' decision.

We may call it denial and a caregiver may call it hope.  The important thing is helping caregivers manage it for the safety of the children.

Watch the short video on how to recognize signs of hope and fantasy that could prevent alternative planning.

Module 4: Hope, Fantasy and Denial  https://youtu.be/DUEJg2REOSA