ACH Child and Family Services’ Kinship Navigator Program benefits kinship families raising grandchildren, nieces, or nephews
FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 5, 2021)- ACH Child and Family Services’ newly launched Kinship Navigator program connects kinship families in Tarrant, Parker, Palo Pinto, Johnson, and Hill Counties to a network of resources and education. A kinship family occurs when a grandmother, aunt, uncle, or sibling is raising a family member. Kinship also occurs when children are placed with a close family friend. ACH was one of four organizations selected by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to receive a grant to develop such a program, and the Kinship Navigator program is now officially implemented.
“The Kinship Navigator program helps kinship families with their unique needs and connects them to much-needed resources, support groups, counseling, and more,” said Chantel Bedlington, ACH Kinship Navigator Program Supervisor.
ACH also developed a guide to help kinship parents navigate their new role: What to Expect When You Weren’t Expecting. The guide teaches parents how to get the children enrolled in school, what to expect in the licensing process, and how to apply for Medicaid. It will also have recommendations for articles, podcasts, and books on kinship and trauma-informed care.
“Kinship families weren’t prepared like a foster, adoptive, or birth parent—they simply answered the phone and said ‘yes,’ when they were called. They are family taking care of family, stepping up, and doing the right thing with little to no support,” said Bedlington. “I’m proud to be a part of an organization that is here to help give those families hope by providing the support they need so that they can thrive.”
This past year, ACH has been reviewing data from a voluntary survey and connecting with kinship families as well as organizations that serve kinship families to build a network of resources to build the Kinship Navigator program.
Because of ACH’s broad range of programs that help children and families, the program has been able to assist many kinship families before the program launched. Kinship families have been able to utilize ACH’s 24/7 crisis hotline, Real Help for Real Life, which provides free youth and family counseling, and our Kinship Connections support group.
To learn more about the Kinship Navigator program, visit ACHservices.org/kinship-navigator.