The Kinship Caregiver Program at Catholic Charities is a resource for non-parents who may need support in stepping out of the relative role and into that of a parent, including navigating the challenges of providing full-time care. The program serves kinship families in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.
Kinship care refers to caregiver grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, adult siblings, and even family friends who provide full-time nurturing and protection of children when they have been separated from their biological parents. More than 200,000 children in New York State are living full time with kin.
“Becoming the primary caregiver of another family member’s child can be overwhelming, which is why Catholic Charities’ Kinship Caregiver Program is here to help families with local resources and offer personal assistance,” said Danielle Kielar, kinship caregiver social worker, Catholic Charities. “Through the program, participating families also have an opportunity to connect with other kinship families through social events and shared experiences.”
The Kinship Caregiver Program at Catholic Charities can help families locate resources in their community and offer personal assistance including case management, family counseling and parenting education. Catholic Charities also offers support groups for caregivers and for children during local after school programs, YMCA family memberships for those who participate in the group activities regularly, and youth groups/family fun nights.
As one participating grandma who is raising a preteen in Salamanca shared, “I love attending these groups. It makes me feel less alone, knowing that others are going through similar situations. I’m working on self-care and remembering to do things that I enjoy for me too.”
Added Kielar, “In the more than 10 years we have offered this program, Catholic Charities has supported close to 300 kinship families. Seeing these children and caregivers connect with each other and showing them that they are not alone is the reason I have been working with kinship families for over a decade.”
Catholic Charities Kinship Program receives funding from New York State Office of Children and Family Services and Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services.
There is no cost to participate in the program and home visits can be made if caregivers are unable to come to a Catholic Charities office. For more information about the Kinship Caregiver Program and eligibility requirements, call 716-372-0101 or visit ccwny.org.