Monday, November 26, 2012

Arizona’s Children Association Receives Federal Grant to Address the Unique Needs of Kinship Caregivers

Kinship care has been a nationally-growing phenomenon for the last decade. Kinship caregivers are those who are raising the children of a relative, often in an effort to keep a child out of traditional foster care when the biological parent is unable to care for the child. According to the US Census Bureau, more than six million children -- approximately 1 in 12 children -- are living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives. In Arizona, there are more than 114,000 households headed by grandparents or other relatives currently caring for one or more relative children.

Research indicates that children in kinship care experience greater stability than those in foster care. Currently, many kinship families are not documented or are poorly tracked in the child welfare system and therefore do not receive the support and resources that would help them create more stability for their household. Through kinship care support, Arizona’s Children Association’s Kinship, Adoption, Resource and Education (KARE) program has worked for years to empower the community to embrace and sup¬port these very special families and their potential to provide a positive alternative to traditional foster care.

Arizona’s Children Association was recently awarded a federal grant, “Family Connection Child Welfare/TANF Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs” funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau, to continue working with kinship families and to further grow the program in Pinal and Cochise Counties over the next three years.

The overall goal of the grant will be to improve services for children being raised by kinship care providers by assisting caregivers in meeting their family’s need, promoting public/private partnerships to meet those needs and increase safety, permanency and well being of youth in kinship care. The grant award for the Kinship Navigator will specifically allow Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) to expand our KARE services in Maricopa and Pima counties and open up KARE facilities in Pinal and Cochise counties. AzCA Kinship KARE teams will focus on the same services and programs currently being utilized at our two KARE centers and also improve the kinship family’s experience with the child welfare system. This program will work with families in need by helping them navigate various systems through support, advocacy, education, and legal services.

Through this program, Arizona’s Children Association aims to impact system change for kinship caregivers and prove that Arizona has the need for long term federal funding, through the Administration for Children Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, to continue to provide sustainable kinship services that promote safe and healthy homes for children being is raised in out of home care. To learn more about KARE, visit

Funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for
Children and Families, Children's Bureau, Grant #HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0510.
The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funders. This information is in the public domain. Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit Arizona’s Children Association.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bright Choices Parenting

New Directions Institute, with funding through First Things First, has recently been granted the opportunity to expand their community-based parenting education program. The comprehensive program called “Bright Choices Parenting” combines support from two First Things First geographic areas of Central Maricopa and Southeast Maricopa to reach out to more families than ever before. The program has proven itself on a smaller scale over the last three years and has been very successful. With this new funding, the program will now reach all of the communities of Tempe, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Guadalupe, Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

“Bright Choices Parenting” is a comprehensive program that combines a variety of NDI curriculum and workshops with community resources. The cornerstone institution approach includes reaching out to parents through a variety of venues including hospitals, libraries, schools, community centers and faith-based venues. Through these venues the program includes an array of parenting classes, Brain Time classes, Wired for Success workshops, KinderPrep classes and community resources.

In addition, two new courses have been added to this project. The first is an evidence-based “Nurturing Parenting” program that emphasizes learning through discussion and sharing. The program also has strong links to community resources as every session incorporates experts from the community to share information on resources. The “Nurturing Parenting” project is in collaboration with Child & Family Resources, in an effort to reach out to new audiences in new community areas. The series are ten weeks each and will be offered fifteen times at multiple locations throughout the geographic area.

The second new course “S.T.E.P.S. Plus” is based on NDI curriculum and utilizes their traditional S.T.E.P.S. curriculum (Security, Touch, Eyes, Play, Sound) with additional emphasis on gender, discipline, music and executive functions (impulse control).

To learn more about program offerings in your area, visit or call 602.371.1366. Child care is available during some class times.