On Saturday, October 3rd, 2015, the Philadelphia Kinship Care Committee presented the 3rd biennial Helping Hands Kinship Care Conference at West Philadelphia High School. This free event provided an opportunity for kinship care providers to receive vital information about caring for others’ children in their homes as well as available resources to support their intergenerational families. Kinship care is the full time care, nurturing and protection of children by relatives, members of their tribes or clans, godparents, stepparents, or any adult who has a kinship bond with a child. Relative includes any relation by blood, marriage or adoption who is within the fifth degree of kinship to the child. Kinship expands the relationship to include individuals with a significant, positive relationship with the child. SeniorLAW Center is proud to be a longstanding member of the Kinship Care Committee, with partners Turning Points for Children, DHS, Pennsylvania AARP, the Support Center for Child Advocates, and others.
Cateria R. McCabe, Esq.
SeniorLAW Center staff attorney, Cateria R. McCabe, Esq. presented the workshop, Custody and the Law, along with Barry Kassel of the Support Center for Child Advocates. Most participants were surprised to learn that grandparents’ rights are not consistent in every state across the country. It was encouraging for them to hear about SeniorLAW Center’s efforts in this regard and the mission to protect seniors’ rights through legal representation, education and advocacy. Conference participants learned about the legal basics of child custody in Pennsylvania as well an overview of the Philadelphia family court system. Cateria provided attendees a roadmap on the legal process, how to navigate the court system and better protect their families and future. The workshop included a discussion on the planning tools, standby guardianship and medical consent authorizations.
The Helping Hands Kinship Care Conference was a fun, informative day that gave kinship caretakers an opportunity to ask questions, learn new information and receive resources in a relaxed environment. Kinship Committee members and others hosted resource tables where caretakers could speak to someone directly about services as well as pick up information to take home. The conference keynote speaker was State Representative Rosita C. Youngblood who is also a kinship care provider. She shared her experiences of becoming a kinship provider not once, but twice. In addition to a wealth of information for kinship providers, the Conference had fun activities for the children in a separate childcare area. The day included continental breakfast, lunch, a DJ and giveaways.
SeniorLAW Center proudly represents, educates and advocates for kinship caregivers 60 + through our Kinship Caregiver Assistance Network (Kin C.A.N) and our PA SeniorLAW HelpLine, providing legal advice, counsel and information for Older Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties. We were one of the first legal services programs in the country to help grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship caregivers with their legal issues, including obtaining custody and supports.