Invisible Kinship Families
We have known about these quiet informal families but never really looked at them in the light.
How many times have we heard about a family that rescued their family member’s children from parents that were unable to care for their children because of some type of neglect, abuse or drugs? How many times have we seen or heard that the rescuer is having trouble getting the children into school or to the doctor? We acknowledge that these are such great people for stepping up to help but do we provide the support that is greatly needed? If the rescuer does not step up, Department of Child Safety (DCS) finds out about the situation, the children are removed and placed into the Foster Care System. These children are separated from the parent(s), other family members and sometimes separated from their siblings.
We know that the cost of raising a child in this economy is high and yet we congratulate the rescuer but give no help. It’s not just about the financial part, what about the emotional and supportive part.
A family member asks if you can watch their child(ren) for a few hours or days. Now it’s been two weeks, a month or longer and the parents have not returned. You can’t find them, you may have talked to them, but they know the children are in good hands and have not return for them. A lot of times it’s grand or great-grandparents, aunts and/or uncles, or other family members. Sometimes it’s a neighbor or close friend. The family is wanting to be supportive of the parent’s situation, but time is taking a toll on their family/children needs. Some of the issues are about getting the children in school and they need a birth certificate, immunization record and school uniforms and supplies. Some families are still working, they need childcare. The emotional part is about loyalty, how do they continue to help without getting the state involved? “If I ask for help, the children will be removed, and the bio parents will be mad”. How do we keep the bio parents from coming and taking the children back into the same situation? Who can I talk to and get some help or at least some questions answered without losing the children? Financially, the cost of clothing, beds and linen, car seats, toiletries and additional food. What if the child(ren) get sick, what do I do?
These children are our future. Supporting them now during this short time is better than caring for them into adulthood later. Let’s not continue to keep these families invisible and in the dark. Let’s investigate how we can help!
FAMILY HELPING FAMILY SHOULD BE SUPPORTED, NOT PUNISHED!!!