United Way

United Ways of California Rolls Out KinshipCareCA.org, a Statewide Kinship Navigator, to Celebrate World Foster Day on May 31

New statewide website offers kinship and foster families access to critical resources, services and live help call specialists

Concept - KinshipCareCA.org is a free, one-stop navigator to meet the immediate needs of kinship caregivers
and foster parents, helping them locate nearby resources, access benefits, and/or receive general support via its
online search feature and dedicated team of highly trained kinship navigation call specialists. Kinship families are
part of all communities across California and kinship caregivers provide essential care and nurturing for their
kinship children. Kinship families offer a tremendous opportunity for vulnerable children and youth to join a part of
their extended family, when their immediate family is unable to care for them. The website is aimed to increase
the capacity of kinship caregivers in providing safe, stable, and nurturing homes for children in their care.

Situation - Kinship caregivers open their hearts and homes to a relative’s child. Approximately one-third of
California’s formal child welfare system (59,156 children) are living with extended family members or other
relatives. However, this is not the whole story because records show that in California on average there are over
285,000 children being raised by relatives outside the child welfare system. Studies have shown that kinship care
can lead to better emotional health, fewer placements, and better outcomes. Offering kinship navigation tools
makes for stronger families all-around.

Project - KinshipCareCA.org includes location-based resources for respite care, childcare, healthcare, education
and many other developmental and quality of life assets. Additionally, it includes access to resources supporting
stability and the fulfillment of basic needs, such as utility, housing and food assistance. The online resource
database currently covers 53 of California’s 58 counties, with resources for remaining counties rolling out by the
end of the year. Kinship navigator call specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with live chat
rolling out in the coming months. The website is powered by California’s partnership of 211 information and
referral providers, and a new statewide resources database for 17 counties not served by 211. Caregivers
can also sign up for informational updates by texting KINSHIP to 211 211. United Way of Kern County is proud to
partner with the California Department of Social Services in serving our state’s kinship
families. The website utilizes Google Translate.

Online Evaluation Study - In an effort to better understand the impact of kinship navigation service provision
and child welfare policies designed to meet the needs of kinship families, kinship caregivers will have the
opportunity to participate in an online study coming soon to the new website. This kinship navigator study,
conducted by evaluation partner, Data With Purpose, will further support the launch of the
KinshipCareCA.org program by collecting valuable data about California’s kinship family service needs,
resource availability, and well-being outcomes to promote continuous quality improvement of this innovative
program, as well as national thought leadership in kinship navigation. The evaluation study has begun with
pilot testing of the program website with kinship caregivers. In an effort to be accessible to the diverse
population of caregivers in California, the online study is available in multiple languages.

Our Focus

Early Childhood Literacy

Financial Stability

Homelessness and Hunger

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