The Network Connection


View this Newsletter as a Webpage

Logo of the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network: A National Technical Assistance Center

Since our last newsletter, we have been busy with technical assistance requests and preparations for the launch of our new website. We’re looking forward to sharing our website and the resources it contains with all of you in the coming weeks. Please be on the lookout for a standalone email announcing that the website has gone live and please read on for additional announcements and a great new resource from Colorado!

Please share your latest news, upcoming events, and highlights with us. They may be featured in our next newsletter!

An icon with an outline of a white exclamation point against a dark purple background

Apply Today for an Exemplary Kinship/Grandfamilies Policy, Practice, and Program Designation

The Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network: A National Technical Assistance Center (Network) is seeking to identify and designate exemplary kinship/grandfamilies policies, practices, and programs to elevate good work and share exemplary strategies with others. The Network encourages applications from government agencies in states, tribes, and territories, as well as kinship navigator programs and other community-based organizations that serve kinship/grandfamilies. Apply today!


What's New From the Network?

Register Today for Two September Webinars

In honor of National Kinship Care Month, we have two webinars scheduled for September, both of which are being offered at no charge.

Terry Cross

Thursday, September 8, 2022

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET

Dr. Terry Cross (Seneca), pictured, Senior Advisor and Founding Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, will present about the keys to effective collaboration.


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET

Dr. Joseph Crumbley, pictured, a nationally renowned kinship expert, trainer, consultant, and therapist, will deliver a presentation called "Family Dynamics in Kinship Families: Implications for Services and Programs."

Dr. Crumbley Headshot
An icon of a "We're Hiring!" sign hangs at an angle, with an icon of an empty office chair next to it. Below, it says "Help us spread the word and apply to join our team!"

 Seeking Project Assistant

The Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network Project Assistant received a promotion and is now serving as the Network’s Technical Assistance Coordinator. As a result, we’re hiring a new Project Assistant! Please share this job opportunity widely. We are excited to expand our team and our impact.


Please Take Our Short Social Media Survey!

Thank you to those of you who have completed our social media survey.

We are still accepting submissions, with the goal of learning the best way to connect with you and your agency/organization/tribe, outside of this monthly newsletter. Please complete a very brief survey about your favorite social media platforms. It should take less than two minutes to respond.

An orange graphic of a person holding a phone, with icons representing various social media apps

Individual Technical Assistance Spotlight

An orange icon with two speech bubbles. The first speech bubble contains a question mark and the second contains a check mark.

The Network is accepting individual technical assistance (TA) requests from professionals who work in systems and organizations that serve kinship/grandfamilies.

To request TA, please complete our new Technical Assistance Request Form.

Here's an example TA request and response.

Request: I work for a kinship navigator program, and we would like to provide concrete goods to kinship families outside child welfare. What are the processes and eligibility requirements that other programs use to provide concrete goods to these families?

Response: Policies and procedures may vary for different organizations. In Washington, kinship navigators take care of handling concrete goods for kin caregivers outside of the formal system in two main ways.

1.) Referrals or connections to community resources such as clothing banks, furniture banks, food banks, etc.

2.) Allocation of Kinship Caregiver Support Program (KCSP) funds for clothing, household items, car seats, etc. The caregiver applies for KCSP funding either through a kinship navigator or through the local Area Agency on Aging. The required documentation to show verification of caregiver status is listed below. There are also income requirements.

Kinship Caregiver Eligibility

Persons eligible to receive funding from KCSP may have a formal legal relationship with the child(ren) in their care, or they may be caring for the child(ren) without such documentation. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria.

A.) The applicant must be raising one or more children who are age 18* or younger, must be related by blood or marriage to the child(ren), and must be living with the child(ren) in Washington State.

B.) The biological or adoptive parents must be unable or unwilling to serve as the primary caregivers of the child(ren), and the parents must be consistently absent from the home.

C.) The applicant must be at risk of not being able to continue kinship caregiving without additional financial support services.

*Caregivers for youth who are older than 18 and attend high school (with documentation to verify school enrollment) are also eligible, provided that they meet the remaining criteria.

Upcoming Presentations About the Network

  • On Monday, September 12, Ana Beltran, the director of the Network, and Leland Kiang, the program manager for USAging’s partnership with the Network, will present at the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging Conference in Florida. The conference will take place from September 11 through September 14, and registration is open through September 9. Let us know if you’ll be there!

  • On Tuesday, September 27, Shalah Bottoms, the Network’s technical assistance specialist, will deliver a virtual presentation called “Engaging in Cross-System Collaboration to Support Kinship Families” at the 2022 Paving the Way to Educational Success Conference in Pennsylvania.

What's New Around the Network?

A map of the United States appears above an icon of a person filling out a survey

Survey Responses Requested

Child Trends and the Annie E. Casey Foundation are conducting a national survey on existing policies that guide states’ work with relatives and other “kin” of children that come to the attention of the child welfare system. If you are a state child welfare administrator or a state kinship program administrator and you have not received an invitation from Child Trends to complete the survey, or have questions about the survey, please reach out to Megan Fischer at or 240-223-9284. Please make sure your state’s information is included in this important national dataset, which will help child welfare agencies across the country learn from each other, overcome challenges, and implement innovative policies to support children and families.

Prioritizing Kinship Caregiver Placements: Current Policies, Practices and Challenges

Birth Parent National Network

Featuring Network Director Ana Beltran and Subject Matter Expert Heidi Redlich Epstein

Thursday, August 25, 2022

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET

Many states have developed innovative strategies to address the challenges faced by kinship caregivers. Some have used waivers, expedited home studies, increased supports, and kinship navigator programs. Some have established licensing standards and implemented policies and practices that facilitate successful licensing of relative caregivers. 

The organizations involved in this event are Generations United, the American Bar Association, Casey Family Programs, and Children’s Trust Fund Alliance.

A series of three stacked photos. At the top is a photo of a grandma of Pacific Islander descent holding her grandbaby. In the middle is a photo of a Black grandmother and grandfather in a park with their two elementary-aged grandchildren, a girl and a boy. The grandfather is in a wheelchair and the girl is in his lap. The boy stands next to them, with his arms wrapped around his sister and his grandfather, and the grandmother stands behind the others. At the bottom is a photo a white grandmother with her arms wrapped around her elementary-aged granddaughter.
Family Connections National Kinship Virtual Town Hall flyer

Registration is Open for the Family Connections National Kinship Virtual Town Hall

Led by the Ohio Federation for Health Equity and Social Justice

Featuring the Network

Friday, September 9, 2022

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

This town hall is designed to be a valuable event for both professionals in the field of kinship care and kinship caregivers. Click on the image of the flyer to learn more.


Family Voice Compass: Resources to Build a Family Voice Council

From the Colorado Department of Human Services' Family Voice Council

The Colorado Department of Human Services’ Family Voice Council informed and named this new online resource. The Family Voice Compass is designed to provide useful information, tools, and resources to help organizations, programs, and departments as they develop their own family voice structure. The resource contains four main sections – “Get Started,” “How to Shift Power,” “Evaluate & Share Results,” and “Tools & Templates” – and each section is full of information.

A pair of feet in Converse-style sneakers rest on top of a compass etched in the ground. The feet are pointing north.

News to Know

Joint Letter Regarding the Assignment of Rights to Child Support for Children in Foster Care

Administration for Children and Families' Children's Bureau and Office of Child Support Enforcement

As of July 29, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families is encouraging Title IV-E child welfare agencies to implement “across-the-board policy changes” so that the default position is not to obtain an assignment of the rights to child support for children receiving Title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance Payments (FCMP). This new guidance reflects research, which shows that child support requirements delay parents being able to reunify with their children.

Similar to foster care maintenance payments, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal policy currently requires caregivers to assign their right to child support to the state, tribe, or territory in order to access TANF grants. TANF child-only grants are typically the only source of ongoing financial support for kinship/grandfamilies outside of foster care, and caregivers often do not access this important support because of the obligation to assign child support. Although there is a “good cause” exemption for assigning it, many TANF agencies do not offer or make use of that exemption.

During our virtual regional convening on June 23, 2022, we learned that Massachusetts makes broad use of the federal good cause exemption and does not require kinship caregivers to assign child support to the state in order to access TANF. The Network will elevate promising practices such as those in Massachusetts, so that other jurisdictions have examples of what they too can do to better support the families. If you would like to share the policies in your state, tribe, or territory with regard to child support assignment for purposes of FCMP or TANF, please email them to

The Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network is the first-ever national technical assistance center for those who serve grandfamilies and kinship families. It was created to help guide lasting, systemic reforms. The Network is a new way to collaborate, to work across jurisdictional and systemic boundaries, to eliminate silos, and to help one another and be helped in return. Thank you for being part of it.

We'd love to hear from you! Please send any feedback on this newsletter to

Generations United Logo

The Network is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $9,950,000 with 95 percentage funded by ACL/HHS and $523,684 and 5 percentage funded by non-government sources. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.