Relative Caregivers Rock!

Posted: March 18, 2012

Overview of Kinship Care Conversations program in Philadelphia

By Brenda Rich, Director of Quality and Training at Turning Points for Children

Question: What do these three Philadelphia locations have in common?

  • Sayers Memorial Methodist Church
  • Bright Hope Baptist Church
  • Miracle Temple of Christ

The answer: These are the sites of a series of Kinship Care Conversations that will be held throughout the city of Philadelphia!

Following the “Helping Hands Conference” for grand-parents and other kinship caregivers of children that was held last May 2011, conference planners got together to debrief and figure out next steps. The question arose of how to continue to reach grandparents and other relative caregivers who are raising children who need help and resources.

The first subsequent community kinship event was held November 9th in SW Philadelphia at Sayers Memorial Methodist Church. Grandparent Sheila Johnson shared her personal story of both difficulty and success, with the special result that she was able to adopt her grandchild. A panel of legal experts (Jennifer Russell, Senior Law Center, and Barry Kassel, Support Center for Child Advocates) and kinship experts (Jean Hackney, Grands as Parents, and Chartan Nelson, Grand Central, Inc.) defined the difference between formal and informal kinship care, and identified existing as well as needed resources for relative caregivers. The second event was held March 8th in North Philadelphia at Bright Hope Baptist Church. State Senator Anthony H. Williams, the conference and events’ prime sponsor, welcomed the grandparents, as did State Senator Shirley Kitchen and the pastor of Bright Hope, Dr. Kevin R. Johnson. A “Wisdom Team” of representatives of well-known kinship resources provided answers to questions from the audience including, “Why should I go to a support group?” “What can I do to take better care of myself?” “What FREE services and programs are available to help me and my child?” The “Wisdom Team” session was moderated by Joy Woods Jones of Temple University, Grandma’s Kids.

The next Kinship Care Conversation will take place on June 7th, at Miracle Temple of Christ in South Philadelphia. Presenters from the Department of Behavioral Health, Department of Public Welfare, and Parks and Recreation (for informal summer opportunities) will be present. For further information on this event, contact Senator Williams’ office at 215-492-2980, or Brenda Rich at

Looking ahead: One additional kinship community event will be planned for the Fall of 2012, and the next Kinship Care Conference in Philadelphia is slated to be held in the Spring of 2013! Stay tuned!