While extended families have always helped with child rearing, a growing number of grandparents and extended family are becoming primary caregivers.
Our Kinship Navigators Program works to advance activities and trainings that support Kinship care providers, their families, and the professionals who work with them. These programs are supported in part by the Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging and the Department of Social and Health Services, Aging and Disability Services Administration.
Kinship Support Groups
We hold support group meetings in Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties:
- Lewis County: The “Grandparents as Parents” support group is held at the HFL building at Centralia College (link to location map) on the 2nd and 4th Mondays from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. All relative caregivers are welcome. Free child care is available, must register in advance. Lewis County Kinship (link to flyer)
- Mason County: Meetings are held at the Squaxin Island Child Development Center (link to location map) on the 4th Tuesday. All relative caregivers are welcome. Free Child Care is Available, must register in advance. Mason County Kinship (link to flyer)
- Thurston County: Meetings are held at the Hands on Children’s Museum (link to location map) on Tuesdays from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. All relative caregivers are welcome. Free Child Care is Available, must register in advance. Thurston County Kinship (link to flyer)
Kinship Navigators provide advocacy, information and referral services to relative caregivers. Navigating social services, school and court systems is often overwhelming. The Navigator provides information about how to access and apply for serves as well as problem solve and advocate for kinship families when issues arrive.
Kinship Care Support Program
The Washington State Legislature made funds available to assist lower income kinship caregivers with some basic needs. Contact us for more information on whether you are eligible and what kinds of need we can assist you with.
Voices of Children – Raised by Relatives Contest
Family Education & Support Services hosts the annual Washington State Voices of Children contest for children and youth, ages 5-19 years of age being raised now or in the past by a relative, other than their parents. They are invited to write a short essay, poem, or submit a drawing that depicts how living with their kinship caregivers has made a positive difference in their life. Each child who enters the contest will have their artwork or written submissions included in a booklet called “Voices of Children” (without their last name or location identified). 2019 Voices of Children.
Community Closet/ Dry Tykes, Wet Wipes
Classes and support groups are currently offered Live via ZOOM webinar
Click here to view available trainings
For more information, please contact Lynn Urvina, Kinship Director.