When a parent becomes unwilling or unable to care for their own children, the youth typically end up in foster care, or under the guardianship of a friend or family member. There are many benefits for the child if they are able to stay with kin: better mental health outcomes, the severity of childhood trauma is limited, and fewer children end up separated from their siblings.
Unfortunately, many beneficial resources that are available to foster parents have been denied to kinship caregivers. The Fostering Family program helps to bridge that gap, providing much needed assistance, support, and guidance for kinship caregivers.
As a designated Relative Success Center, and in collaboration with New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department, Southwest Family Guidance Center (SWFGC) provides a coordinated and comprehensive array of resources for kinship caregivers in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, and Rio Arriba counties. The goal of the program is to increase stability in the family setting, allow children to remain connected to family and culture, and reduce the long-term effects of childhood trauma.
What Kind Of Services Are Provided?
- Assistance in determining the needs of the family and what services they may be eligible to receive.
- Information and resource referrals for local, state and national services.
- Education related to kinship care, such as:
- Mental health
- Legal Assistance
- Social Media and current technologies
- Child Development
- Childhood Trauma
- Financial planning, Taxes
- Cultural Competency
- Assistance in completing guardianship packets to help caregivers register children for school and apply for medical services.
- Collaboration with civil legal service providers in order to refer caregivers to legal services as appropriate in relation to:
- Obtaining guardianship or custody orders;
- Child/Parent visitation;
- Public benefits and financial matters;
- Assistance with negotiations;
- Culturally appropriate legal services to immigrant caregivers
- Access to federal, state and local benefits including, but not limited to:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Housing Authority;
- Income Support Division;
- Child Support;
- Respite care;
- Guardianship Assistance;
- Legal Assistance;
- Child Care Assistance;
- Therapeutic services, either in-house or with community based services.
- Behavioral Management Services
- Case management
- Peer Support Services
- Individual and Family therapy
Any individual who is a relative, godparent, member of a child’s tribe or clan, or an adult with a significant bond (fictive kin) who are raising the youth because the biological parents are unable or unwilling to do so. The individual does not have to have legal guardianship to qualify for services.
How Do I Make A Referral?
Fostering Family is available in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, and Rio Arriba counties. Access an Online Referral Form for the appropriate county and complete as thoroughly as possible. Once the form has been submitted:
- The referral will be assigned to a designated Program coordinator, who will reach out to the referral source and family to begin engagement
- The program coordinator will triage the families’ needs, which can occur over 4 sessions, prior to becoming a client of SWFGC
- Based on assessment of need, the Family will be referred to appropriate services.
- Services at SWFGC and other Relative Success Centers begins
For more information please contact:
Leandrea Romero-Lucero, PhD, LPCC
Fostering Family Coordinator
(505) 830 1871 x 611