“I am a single grandmother with custody of two grandchildren. I first found out about the Kinship Program in Thurston County when my grandchildren were babies. They are now 11 and 12 years old. For many years, I have attended Kinship Support Groups run by Family Education & Support Services Kinship Program. My grandchildren and I have made friends, I have learned from trainings offered and resources provided by the Kinship Navigator. Over the years, my family has faced medical challenges, more than one family crisis and legal challenges to my Non-Parental Custody.  Each time I found valuable advice and resources from the Kinship Program and other kinship caregivers. My financial situation has changed, some years I needed some financial assistance from the Kinship Navigator Support Program and other years there was no need. When I needed it, it was a huge relief to know that help was available. The Kinship Navigator Program also connected us with holiday assistance and provided occasional family activities during the summer.  I have been participating in the Washington State Kinship Navigator Pilot Program for the past 12 months. In a recent conversation with the Navigator, I shared concerns about losing my home where I have lived for 11 years. My ex-husband recently passed away and his family members threatened me, saying I needed to immediately sell the house and give the estate his share of the proceeds. I do not have the money to pay a lawyer for legal advice and the Navigator referred me to the local Volunteer Legal Clinic. I was able to meet on the phone with a lawyer who explained my options and gave me free legal advice. After asking the appropriate questions of my mortgage company I learned this week that my home is not at risk, and I do not have to move my grandchildren from the only place they have felt safe and loved.  Children need to stay with their families, and kinship families need the support and resources that Navigators are able to provide.” – Kinship Caregiver