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Our resource library is filled with educational materials and insightful answers to help guide you and your family through their journey. Browse our list of resources, or take a look through our Q&A section at your convenience.
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Take a deep breath.
It may seem overwhelming or stressful taking care of someone else’s child, but there’s no need to talk yourself into a fit. There’s a reason you’re the one that’s stepping into this significant role, and it’s not by accident. Maybe you’ve already raised children yourself, or maybe this will be your first time stepping up as a parent. Either way, you’ve already demonstrated your ability and commitment to caring for your loved ones’ child.
The first thing you should do is make the child(ren) feel comfortable in your home. This is likely to be a big transition for both of you, so be empathetic and patient with them as you adjust to this new normal. Talk with one another about the situation, and express expectations for both of you to ensure you can get along well. Then, consider reaching out to our team and looking into our Kinship Navigation services. We’ll connect you with support, resources, educational courses, and caregiving materials to help you thrive in your new role.
No matter what your situation is, from an informal agreement to formalized guardianship, this new environment is hard to traverse on your own. Despite the inherent unpredictability in these circumstances, you can identify exactly what your legal role and responsibilities are now.
Different levels of kinship care include:
- Private Or Informal Kinship Care —Temporarily delegating parental rights and care for the children in need to the kinship caregiver without permanently altering the rights.
- Diversion Kinship Care —Often voluntary, a child welfare agency becomes aware of the child’s needs and works together to create a strategy for moving the child into the care of a relative without joining the formal child welfare system.
- Licensed Or Unlicensed Kinship Care — The final level of kinship care involves children living with other family members but remaining in the legal custody of the state they reside in.
While you can get more detailed information about your own specific situation and the legal rights that come with it, there are some basic rights you should be aware of.
As a kinship caregiver, you have the right to:
- Be treated fairly and with respect
- Be offered training opportunities to expand your parenting skills and knowledge
- Make most day-to-day care decisions for the child or young person
- Receive information about services that can support you in your role as a carer
The legal rights and responsibilities for kinship caregivers vary across multiple factors, but at the end of the day, as long as you are providing
They may look different now, but we’re here to help!
Many questions we run into include the management of a child’s medical history, caretaking plan, and future. As a Kinship Caregiver, you can advocate for the child in your care and keep them on a path to achieving and maintaining physical and mental health.
Common questions include:
- If the child in my care already had Medicaid, how can I manage that for them?
- If the child doesn’t have Medicaid but needs it, how can I sign them up?
- Can I add my kinship child to my private health insurance?
Much like legal rights and responsibilities, your medical rights will vary in a case-by-case situation. Our team can help you decipher the needs of the child or children and work with you to create a plan of care that benefits you both.
There are countless avenues for help!
With the connections we have through our Kinship Navigation program, you can access resource libraries, educational courses, community resources, certified specialists, peer support groups, and more.
In addition to these resources, we’re also prepared to help you navigate which professionals are needed in your care team. What are the obstacles the child in your care is facing? Do they warrant professional attention? How can you know when to turn to a therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor? And what is the difference between each?
Our team can connect you with trusted providers and help steer you in the right direction. Support is out there; sometimes, all it takes is having someone help direct you to the right person. NCHS fits this role by helping you find the support and resources you need to succeed.
By taking time to address your needs, too!
When you’re acting as a kinship caregiver, it is important to take care of your own physical, mental, and emotional needs as well as the needs of the child(ren) in your care. If you aren’t ensuring your own needs are met, how can you expect to care for someone else? That being said, we understand that self-care when caring for a child can be a bit…tricky.
Here are some ideas of things you can do to promote self-care as a kinship caregiver:
- Take a walk outside
- Practice meditating for 5 minutes a few times throughout the day
- Carve out alone time to read or take a bath
- Treat yourself to your favorite guilty pleasure snack
- Visit a friend (or schedule a FaceTime call so you can have some time away!)
- Turn off the electronics and unplug for a while
The bottom line is that you need to take care of yourself as a kinship caregiver. This transition is sure to be an adjustment for all of you, and it doesn’t do any good to push your own needs aside.
Countless individuals have experienced or are experiencing a similar situation as yourself. You’re not alone in trying to decide if something is worth calling DHHS over.
Every single person has the responsibility to report any instance of child abuse or neglect. In fact, in Nebraska, state law requires any person who has a reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected to report their concerns to the Child Abuse and Neglect.
If you are unsure if the situation should be reported or not, with the help of our Kinship Navigation program, you are connected to a network of support within your community, ranging from certified specialists to peer support groups. These points of contact, with years
NCHS supports families of all kinds for the benefit of children, whether temporary, foster, kinship, adoptive, in crisis, or in the community. Our team works hand-in-hand with other organizations and the state to ensure we keep people out of the system and keep families intact.
Through public programs, educational opportunities, community connections, and support infrastructure, we’re helping to create better parenting outcomes for families of all kinds, no matter their circumstances or location. We continue to keep children front and center in all that we do, but we also focus on helping families, fathers, mothers, kinship caregivers, and grandparents as well.
NCHS is here to help support you where you need it most. Our no-obligation, only opportunity programs can connect you to the resources and materials you need to ensure a safe and loving home for the children in your care. To learn more about our Kinship Navigation services or speak to someone on our team, reach out to us today!
It often depends on the family situation and how long you plan to care for the child. There are options to consider based on your family’s needs. Options include some or all parental rights can be given to another caregiver from temporary to a permanent basis.
Informal care or physical custody is when a child/ren lives with another adult/s that has been given permission by parent/s to make important decisions for this child/ren. Both the adult/s and parent/s have to agree to this arrangement.
Temporary legal custody may last many years or until child/ren reaches adulthood. Parents may agree with this option or caregiver is already caring for the child/ren. Abuse, neglect or abandonment by parents occurred based on the definition by law.
Guardianship assumes all authority that a parent would have. This is a permanent option that can last till child reaches adulthood. This option may require state specific reporting completed annually.
Dependency or Licenses/Unlicensed kinship care is when the court finds a child/ren experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment and is place child/ren with a family member.
Adoption is when the court terminates parental rights and assist all parental rights to an adult caregiver.
There are a variety of resources to families. Some depend on where you live, how much you earn, or various other factors. Resources can help address housing, financial, health, legal, emergency, and more. Kinship Navigation can help make connections to address most pressing priorities.
You are not alone. Most families have feelings of being overwhelmed with responsibilities and how that affects their family. It can be a lot but you don’t have to do it alone. There is Kinship Navigation that can walk with a family for 3-6 months. Making connections and providing support along the way. There is also Raising Your Grandchildren class that helps you connect with other caregivers as you. Along with working through a variety of topics that all kinship families face. Those completing class are invited to ongoing support group. An opportunity to stay connected with kinship families on similar journeys
There are many people and agencies that are available to assist each family based on their specific needs and situations. Kinship navigators can help families find the supports and resources for them to find their own success. Families have many questions and can find specialized support through NCHS. A conversation with our Intake Coordinator can help connect you to a resource in your community.
- Child/Adult Abuse Hotline: 800-652-1999
- American Red Cross: www.northeastnebraskaredcross.net
- 2612 W Norfolk Ave. | 402-371-0393 / 800-733-2767
- 106 W 3rd St., Wayne | 402-375-5209 / 800-733-2767
- 2905 23rd St., Columbus | 402-564-8314 / 800-733-2767
- 2912 S 80th Ave., Omaha | 402-343-7700 / 800-733-2767
- Behavioral Health Specialists, Inc.: https://www.4bhs.org/
- 601 E Norfolk Ave., Norfolk | 402-379-2026
- 318 E Douglas St., O’Neill | 402-336-1774
- Crisis Line: 402-379-3798 / 877-379-3798
- Bright Horizons: https://brighthorizonsne.org/
- Crisis Line: 877-379-3798
- Crisis Text Line: 402-370-8817
- Haven House:
- 509 Dearborn, Wayne | 402-375-5433 / 800-440-4633
- 117 E 28th St., Sioux City IA | 402-494-7592 / 800-440-4633
- The Bridge:
- POB 622., Fremont | 402-721-4340 / 888-721-4340
- Center for Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Survivors:
- POB 42., Columbus | 402-564-2155 / 800-658-4482
- Generation Hope (MH and DV) Adults & Children:
- 110171 W Maple Rd., Omaha, NE | 402-740-6184
- The Crisis Center:
- POB 5885., Grand Island | 308-382-8250 / 866-995-4422
- Santee Sioux Nation – Domestic Violence Shelter:
- Niobrara | 402-857-2316
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990
- Good Neighbors:
- 132 S 4th St., Norfolk | 402-644-8155
- Grace Lutheran Church:
- POB 5885., Grand Island | 308-382-8250 / 866-995-4422
- Liberty Centre:
- 900 E Norfolk Ave., Norfolk | 402-370-3503
- Nebraska Regional Poison Center: 800-222-1222
- Norfolk Rescue Mission:
- 111 N 9th St., Norfolk | 402-371-6484
- Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership (NENCAP):
- 603 Earl St., Pender | 402-385-6300 / 800-445-2505
- 1405 Riverside Blvd. | 402-844-4422 / 800-445-2505
- Michael Sullivan, LCSW, CCGC:
- 208 N 5th St ste C., Norfolk | 402-750-7923
- Hampton Behavioral Health:
- 116 W Douglas St ste B., O’Neill | 402-336-3200
- National Elder Abuse: 800-677-1116
- Domestic Violence: 800-799-7233
- Nebraska Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 800-876-6238
- Heartland Family Services Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 800-523-3666
- Safe House Available
- Bullying Info: www.safe2helpne.org
- Faith Regional Health Services-Behavioral Health: In-Patient Services
- Unit 2700 W Norfolk Ave. (4th Floor), Norfolk | 402-644-7461
- Norfolk Regional Center: In-Patient Services
- 1700 N Victory Rd., Norfolk | 402-370-3400
- Park Place Psychiatric Residential Rehabilitation Group Home:
- (Liberty Centre) 808 W Park Ave., Norfolk | 402-370-4208
- Bryan LGH:
- 2300 S 16th St., Lincoln | 402-481-5854
- Richard Young:
- 1755 Prairie View PL. Kearney | 308-865-2000
- Immanuel Hospital:
- 6901 N 72nd St., Omaha | 402-572-2121
- Boys & Girls Town Suicide and Crisis Line: 402-448-3000
- Covenant House Teen Crisis Line: 800-999-9999
- Daycare Complaint Report Line: 800-732-5207
- Cancer Support: 800-422-6237
- Center for Disease Control: 402-458-5231
- Center for Disease Control (STS/AIDS): 800-342-2437
- Crime Stoppers: 800-422-1494
- Crisis Text Line: 741741
- Connection Project Warm Line (Peer Support): 877-823-8992
- Nationwide Addiction Assistance Hotline: 800-559-9503
- Narcotics Anonymous: 800-660-3662
- National Association of Anorexia Associated Disorders: 847-831-3438
- National Eating Disorder Association: 800-931-2237
- National Mental Health Association: 800-969-6642
- National Rape Crisis Line: 800-656-4673
- National Runaway Switchboard: 800-786-2929
- Nebraska Hotline for Disability Services: 800-742-7594
- Nebraska Tobacco Quitline: www.dhhs.ne.gov | 800-784-8669
- Parent Assistance: 800-840-6537
- Poison Control: 800-222-1222
- Project Harmony (Sexual Abuse): 402-529-1326
- Rape, Abuse, Incest Network: 800-656-4673
- Sexual Assault Line: Voices of Hope – 402-476-2110 | 402-475-7273 (24 hr line)
- Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433
- Suicide Prevention/Signs (National Line): 800-273-8255
- Trans Lifeline Home | Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
- Nebraska Emergency Contact: 911
- Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers: 402-933-7422
- FBI – Omaha Field Office: 402-493-8688
- Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660
- Clean and Sober – Addiction Recovery Support Group
- Loving Your Child Through Their Addiction
- Loved Ones of Addicts
- Alcoholics Anonymous Support Group
- Eating Disorder (Anorexia,BED, Bulimia & EDNOS Recovery)
- Grieving the Loss of a Loved One Support Group
- Gambling Addiction and Recovery
- Depression and Anxiety Support
- Postpartum Support International
- Suicide Prevention for Military, Veterans and Support group
- Battle Scars – Survivor Led Self Harm Support Group
- Domestic Violence Support for Women
- Chronic & Invisible Illness Support
- Bipolar Disorder Support Group – A Global Community
Additional Kinship Navigation Resources
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Want to discover more about Kinship Navigation and how it impacts you and your community? Take a look through our resource library so you can stay educated and informed about our services.
Kinship Navigation Blog
Caption: Governor Jim Pillen presents Kinship Care Awareness Month Proclamation to NCHS Chief Executive Officer Lana Temple-Plotz. Pictured from left…Read Now +
Adoptive families face a unique set of challenges once they come together under one roof. In many cases, adoptive families…Read Now +
Kinship Navigation Resources
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You might feel lonely on this journey, but there are countless families just like you who you can rely on for support and advice! Become a Kinship Navigation Community member and start building a strong support network.