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Grandparents and Relative Caregivers Find Support With the Kinship Navigator Program

April 6, 2017

Are you raising your relative’s child? Whether you’re a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or another relative, if you’re raising the child of a relative, your Georgia government is here to help.

The Kinship Navigator program provides resource information and offers support to grandparents and others who are caring for the child of a relative. The Governor’s Office, the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), and the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHS) launched this program to support the increasing number of grandparents and other caregivers raising their relative’s child.

Each geographical region has a designated navigator who helps relative or kinship families navigate DFCS services and find additional community-based resources. One of the primary roles of a kinship navigator is to develop collaborative relationships with local groups and agencies that work with grandparents and kinship caregivers. These partnerships ensure caregivers’ access to local resources, especially in less populated areas of the state.

How Can Kinship Navigators Help Me?

Kinship Navigators provide a variety of assistance to caregivers. They:

  • Help caregivers access relevant federal and state benefits.
  • Pro-actively mediate with state agency staff and service providers.
  • Assist, when necessary, in building relationships between kinship caregivers and relevant state and federal program staff, including Area Agencies on Aging and the Department of Education.
  • Accompany grandparents to court and help them navigate the legal system.
  • Help caregivers access state funds to buy things like cribs and school supplies.
  • Lend an ear to kinship caregivers of all ages who are raising children or planning to do so.
  • Identify which kinship families need to find support group networks and additional services.

Since June 2015 navigators have served over 3,500 families.

Let’s Get Started!

Interested in connecting with your regional navigator? Access services and ask questions by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting DHS’s online Kinship Care portal. A Kinship Navigator will respond to inquiries within 24 hours Monday-Friday (with exception of holidays and weekends).

About the Author

Tacia Estem is the Interim Director for the Safety Management Section of Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services.  Ms. Estem leads the statewide safety-related projects that are aimed at improving safety interventions and supports for families and children. They include the Child Abuse Registry, CPS Screening, Safety Liaisons, and the Kinship Navigator Program. She has over 10 years of experience in child welfare practice and management.