A Newsletter of the 
Kinship Care Resource Center (KCRC) 
A Community Program of the MSU School of Social Work
March 21, 2014 
Welcome to spring everyone! (well eventually)
We hope that everyone out there has made it through our lovely Michigan winter, that seems to be never ending and that the winter conditions have not been too harsh to you.  We have awoken from our winter hibernation to provide you with a lovely new newsletter to enlighten and encourage everyone working with kinship families.  Hopefully you will give it a quick read while struggling to stay warm during winters last lingering days.
As always, we encourage you to check out our website and to "like" our Facebook page, both of which contain useful information to assist you in your work with kinship families.





 - KCRC Staff




Is there a kinship topic you want us to cover more in-depth in a future newsletter? If so, let us know by e-mailing us at kinship@msu.edu.



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 Professional Training Opportunities
Michigan Association for Foster Adoptive and Kinship Families (MAFAK)


We'll be there...we hope you will be too!! The MAFAK annual conference is scheduled for May 1st - May 3rd, 2014 at the Best Western Plus of Lansing, MI. Saturday will be an unofficial "kinship day" with workshops geared specifically towards kinship caregivers and those who work with and support them. Special guest on Saturday will be Cate Newbanks, Executive Director of FACES of Virginia Families, who will be presenting not only on general kinship topics but also on advocacy. For more information on the MAFAK conference visit www.mafak.co.

Michigan State Court Administrator's Office (SCAO)- Child Welfare Services


SCAO will be holding it's Working Towards Wellness in Child Welfare: Exploring Practices to Promote Well-Being, Safety, and Permanancy conference at the Kellogg Center, in East Lansing, MI on April 16-17, 2014. This conference is geared towards judges, referees, and other court staff; DHS and private child welfare agencies, Michigan Indian tribes, policy makers, and related child welfare service providers. For more information, contact Heather Leidi at 517-373-5322517-373-5322 . The Kinship Care Resource Center will be presenting on April 17 in the afternoon.


Area Agencies on Aging Association Annual Conference   


The Business of Aging: The 27th Annual Conference of the Area Agencies on Aging Association, will be held at the Kellogg Center on May 15 & 16.  They have an exciting line-up of sessions and speakers. The online registration portal and more information can be found on our website: http://www.mi-seniors.net/annual_conference.html     

This course is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative for 10.5 hours.  Course approval #: 031814-02.

Michigan State University Continuing Education; Strategies of Successful Group Leadership: Some Essentials Not Learned in the Classroom


Michigan State University is offering a class to educate individuals on successful group work.  The class will be held at the Hannah Community Center on Friday April 11th from 9 until 12.  The class has a cost of $55 and will cover topics such as why groups fail, group dynamics, and useful group formats.  This could be helpful in preparing or assisting with kinship support groups.  To find out more about the class or how to enroll visit the link below.  https://socialwork.msu.edu/ceu/catalog.php



Free Online Recorded Training on Running Support Groups

Here is an excellent presentation on running support groups that are engaging and successful. Here is a link to listen to the recorded presentation:



If you have an upcoming training related to kinship caregiving that is open to anyone please let us know!

Information Resources -

Foster Care Navigators


This agency is dedicated to helping families work through the process of entering foster care.  They help locate licensing agencies as well as helping clients understand their responsibilities and what to expect next.  It can be a good resource to link a client to who will be going into the foster care system.  Their web link can be found below.




Child Welfare Information Gateway


This is information from the Child Welfare Information Gateway provided by the AARP.  This information is intended to assist grandparents working in the child welfare system. 




Research: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in the United States: Changing Family Forms, Stagnant Social Policies


Abstract: As a consequence of increased divorce rates, the proliferation of single-parent families, and patterns of economic stagnation, parents are increasingly relying on extended family to care for children. In the past few decades, a substantial increase in the number of grandparents raising grandchildren has been observed within the United States. Grandparents who raise their grandchildren are particularly vulnerable, as are the grandchildren in their care; however, U.S. policy currently presents many barriers, gaps, and unintended consequences for grandparent caregivers.









Advocacy and Awareness

Undocumented Youth

Thousands of undocumented individuals live in the state of Michigan, yet there is very little discussion regarding resources for and awareness of this population. These undocumented youth face many challenges; uncertainty surrounding their parents' legal status, lack of access to resources such as food assistance, and often the traumatic experience of being removed from their home and placed in kinship care or foster care.  As professionals working with children and families, there are a number of ways that you can help.


Firstly, remain cognizant of this population and the challenges they face. Don't simply assume that all immigrant families and children you will work with are documented and have legal status, or that you must report undocumented children or families. DHS policy states the Department of Human Services workers are prohibited from reporting undocumented individuals applying for the Bridge Card to Immigrant authorities. Inform yourself on this topic so that you are able to be an advocate for a population that has an incredibly limited voice and very few resources available to them. Educate yourself on your agency's policies and services that may influence your work with immigrants, especially undocumented youth.


Secondly, educate yourself on the resources and information that is available to the undocumented population. Below are some resources that you may find helpful in working with immigrants and the

undocumented population:


  • SIJ Visa: the Special Immigrant Juveniles Visa is a program that allows undocumented minors who have been placed in the child welfare system to apply for a green card. For children in foster care, this visa is a very quick and direct route to gaining citizenship. Visit http://sji.gov/PDF/SIJ_Status.pdf for more information.

  • VAWA: Under the Violence Against Women Act, undocumented women and children who have been abused, trafficked, or sexually assaulted can petition to be granted legal status in the United States. Under this act, undocumented individuals who already live in the United States who are victims of domestic violence and leave their abusive partner may be granted legal status and regain parental rights of children if they have been taken away as a result of the domestic violence. For more information about this act, visit: http://www.uscis.gov/general-keywords/vawa 

  • Michigan State University and the University of Michigan support an immigration law clinic that works to provide information and resources regarding obtaining citizenship or legal status. For more information about the Michigan State University Immigration Law Clinic, visit: http://www.law.msu.edu/clinics/immigration/about.html or call 517-432-6800.

  • More information about the University of Michigan law clinic can be found by visiting https://www.law.umich.edu/clinical/pages/default.aspxor by calling (734) 764-1358



Legislative Notices
Do you have a relationship with your legislator? If so, here are some pieces of legislation that may impact the families you work with that you may want to speak with them about.
HB 5343 Clarification of Termination of Parental rights and obligation to pay child support. 
Currently in Committee
Alters the current probate code to state the following.  Except for a voluntary termination of parental rights under section 29 of the probate code.  Termination of parental rights does not excuse a parent from their duty of support unless ordered by a court of appropriate jurisdiction. 
HB 5139 Right of First Refusal for child care in joint custody
Currently in Committee
If there is an arrangement for joint custody of a child and a caregiver needs to seek alternative childcare during their custody time.  The other parent/caregiver has the right of first refusal for that childcare time unless it is an emergency.  This is stating that the other parent/caregiver must be given the opportunity to provide care for the child during the time the  parent/caregiver who has the child during their normally scheduled custody time needs childcare. 
HB 4659, 4660, 4661, and 4662
Responsible Father Registry and notices served to fathers in certain court proceedings
Update: These bills have been passed by the House and are now in the Senate.
Amends the Public Health Code to create a Responsible Father Registry for a man who desires to be notified of a proceeding for adoption or termination of parental right regarding a child he may have fathered.  Registration must happen within 48 hours after the child's birth. Does not affect parental rights if the father child relationship is established according to the paternity act. Failure to register waives a man's right to receive notice of court proceedings and is a denial of his interest in custody of the child, unless fraud by the birth mother was involved, leading the father to believe the baby did not live.
HB 4649 and 4650- Resource Families Bill of Rights.
Update: These bills still sit in Committee.
Creates a bill of rights for foster, adoptive, and kinship families and requires the Children's Ombudsman's office to investigate violations.

You can read the full text of these bills and find out their status by visiting www.legislature.mi.gov

Pass on to Families -



YMCA Summer Camps

I know it is still cold out but the time to start thinking about and looking into summer camps is right around the corner.  YMCA offers camps across the state and has financial aid available to assist low income families.  It can be a good idea to pass this along to families you work with to ensure that their children get some fun outdoors experiences this summer.  More information can be found at the link below.



Generations United

Generations United produced this nifty little TANF fact sheet.  It focuses specifically on supports for kinship care through TANF.  It may be a good resource to pass along to families you are working with to help broaden their understanding on resources available to them.



Michigan Education and Training voucher

Some of the families you are working with may have children that are beginning to look at paying for college. If those children have spent time in Foster Care they may qualify for assistance through the Michigan Education and Training voucher program. Check out information the information from Lutheran Social Services.  https://mietv.lssm.org/default.aspx


Michigan Tuition Incentive Program  This can require a little more planning but there is also college financial support for low-income families who are not a part of the child welfare program. The Michigan Tuition Incentive Program is for youth who are determined eligible through their utilization of Medicaid through DHS. Youth can become TIP eligible as young as 12 years old so this resource can help families with planning now. Check out http://www.michigan.gov/documents/FactSheetTIP_161201_7.pdf for more information. 





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