Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Our kinship staff has been hard at work behind the scenes and we are now proud to announce a brand new website designed just for the needs of kinship caregivers! ArizonaKinship.org is designed to help kinship caregivers navigate the various systems that they will encounter when raising their relative’s children and connect them to the resources they need.
“We recognized that in this digital age there was not a local online resource that responded to all of the needs of kinship families,” said Candy Espino, director of operations, child welfare. “In addition to all of our kinship work throughout the last decade, we are now able to take a well-rounded approach by integrating an online resource.”
Each kinship family is unique. ArizonaKinship.org allows kinship caregivers to independently research their local resources or connect directly with an AzCA support staff who will assist them in determining the type of kinship family they are, what their needs are, and the best available resources.
Through the website, our caregivers are also given the opportunity to connect with a support group or meet others in the same situation for emotional support. In addition, the website also invites people to share their personal stories and read about those with parallel stories.
“Our vision for the website is that it will link caregivers to real community supports to meet their current needs,” said Espino. “We relied on the expertise of our kinship caregivers to assist in the creation of this website to ensure that it met their needs and was as user-friendly as possible.”
Visit the Arizona Kinship Support Services at www.arizonakinship.org. Support services can also be obtained by calling the Caregiver Hotline at 1.888.737.7494.
Friday, August 16, 2013
In 2003, with the help from AVIVA Children’s Services as IMS’ fiscal agent, IMS became an operating program and received our first grant from Every Voice In Action. With an initial grant of just $8,000, we hired our first employee and celebrated our first mentor match! Within a year, we became an official organization and received 501(c)3 not for profit status. Within a few years, IMS secured state and behavioral health contracts and served over 500 youth annually through their various programs and events.
In 2010, In My Shoes joined up with Arizona’s Children Association and became a member of its family of agencies. Today, IMS is working on growing its one-on-one mentoring program statewide. IMS has teamed up with AzCA’s Independent Living Program to offer mentorship to youth transitioning from foster care to independence. Currently IMS has volunteers in the process of becoming mentors in Bisbee, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Prescott, Tucson, and Yuma.