RAPP helps families in many ways. Often when a child comes to a relative’s home in an informal way there has been little time to prepare, so we can help families find resources to assure basic needs such as a bed, weather appropriate clothing, etc. Older relatives may need help getting children enrolled for school, or have questions about home-work help for the child.
Some families who have taken in children without involvement by DSS may want more formal custody, so we can refer them to Legal Aid’s custody clinic where they can learn how to file for temporary custody.
We offer monthly support groups in order to help teach families about topics of interest. Our services and groups are free and open to any caregiver, and the support group topics are driven by results of the annual survey sent to our kinship caregivers. For example, grandparents may need updates on how to best help their children be successful in school. We often have educators or school staff come to the support groups to share with kinship families. And for caregivers who may feel isolated, or feel that no one else can understand what they are going through, the support groups offer a chance to meet others who have had – or are having – similar experiences. Group members often provide both valuable information and emotional support to each other.
We provide a monthly newsletter that shares tips on resources in an easy to read and easy to understand way. We include information that crosses all social and economic levels like filing taxes, relieving stress, or helping families understand appropriate discipline options for children.
We work by collaborating with community partners to offset the high cost of caring for a child unexpectedly. Our two special projects, back-to-school supplies, and our holiday gift project, were crafted to support kinship care families who may be struggling financially.